Aquaculture in Ghana: Prospects, challenges, antidotes and future perspectives
Inland and marine capture fisheries productions have more or less stabilised. Moreover, the increasing population is always putting pressure on the demand for fish which capture and marine productions alone are not able to meet. The national demand for fish is always greater than the country can supply and the gap is widening year after year. However, fish is the most important animal protein in Ghana accounting for about 82 % of protein consumption (FAO 2001). Moreover, the relatively cheaper price of fish compared to the other animal proteins means that the year-after-year short-fall in fish production will affect the protein in-take of the poorer segments of the society in the near future if nothing is done about it. For example according to Tradezone (2007:2) even though the national fish demand for 2007 was 913, 992 tonnes, the country was able to supply only 511, 836. The development of aquaculture has been seen to be one of the best solutions to the problem. The positive side is that the geo-ecological climate of the country is generally favourable for aquaculture development. These include the vast water surfaces of the dug-outs, dams, lagoons, the Volta Lake (the largest man-made lake in the world) and other water bodies. Nonetheless, this vast potential has not been tapped due to number of bottlenecks such as the availability of quality feed among others. Following the results of my studies and work, I therefore propose that; (1) the local agricultural products and by-products should be tested scientifically in order to formulate cheap feed for aquaculture development; (2) integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture (IAA) should be promoted and developed since it is resource and ecologically efficient and at the same time economically beneficial to farmers; (3) the agricultural extension officers should be trained in fish farming techniques so that that they can help advice farmers more especially on issues of integrated agriculture- aquaculture; (4) women should be encouraged and motivated to enter into aquaculture and (5) Finally, the Aquaculture Development Committee (ADC) should assist farmers in the acquisition of soft loans and land which have been major stumbling blocks to the development of aquaculture.