You are here: HomeBusiness2021 05 21Article 1267438

Business News of Friday, 21 May 2021

Source: Stephen Armah, Contributor

Improve on sector policies for Aquaculture growth - Kwame Pianim

Kwame Pianim was speaking at the first Hybrid Aquaculture Conference for the West African Region Kwame Pianim was speaking at the first Hybrid Aquaculture Conference for the West African Region

“If we are to be part of the African Continental Free Trade Area with even a bigger market of billion dollars continent instead of 400 million dollars in ECOWAS, we need to scale up, our sectors are too small. We need to make sure we provide funding for our feed companies to be able to integrate into either soybean and maize production or help people who are specialized in farming to produce for them to reduce the cost”, , an economist and a fish farmer said this at the First Hybrid Aquaculture Conference for the West African Region on the theme; the Challenges of Aquaculture Industry in Ghana.

Generally, the lack of global competitiveness of the industry is a result of the high cost of feed to the sector. Feed cost which is about 65% of production cost which comprise of maize and soybean are not available in competitive values, however, most of the agricultural products in Ghana have a yield deficit of 50%, therefore, for inputs cost to reduce, Ghana must scale up production.

According to Kwame Pianim, the instability of the currency has had negative effects on both the inputs and the prices of fish products. Constant increase in dollar rate has accounted for increase in the both inputs and fishes. Customers used to purchase 1kg of fish for Ghs 1 which was equivalent to $1 a decade ago, but now due to constant increase of the dollar rate, customers now buy 1kg of fish for Ghs 15-20 since Ghs1 is now $5.8.

He explained that some of the policies that favors the Ministry of Food and Agriculture disfavors the Aquaculture Ministry. “There is lack of coordination in sector policies. For instance, poultry feed comes into the country ‘ duty-free’ while we pay custom duties on fish feed, is the fish not animal as poultry as legislatures described?” he question.

In addition, Kwame Pianim said the burden of inbuilt administrative coercive levy and arbitrary regulatory and administrative fees seem to be a challenge to the sector. The lack of coordination, digitalization and operational link of GRA, SSNIT and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) administrative systems burden the operators with seeking multiple tax and SSNIT clearance certificates for renewal of exemption certificates for customs clearance at the port.

He bemoaned over the inadequate support for the sector development. There is a need to prioritize domestic aquaculture development challenges in the ministry level and balance it against premix and fish import licensing activities.

The astute economist called for the availability of quality management and operational staffs. He commended the trainings that are being done at the university level for the sector, but what is mostly needed is operators and staffs who would feed the fish and be able to monitor the health conditions of the fish.

He canvassed for more training of the youth especially women into the sector. He applauded the women who are marketing the fishes digitally for economic gains. He called for more women into that direction to inculcate more innovative ideas in the sector.