On-farm feed management practices for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in Ghana
This paper records the results of a study investigating on-farm feed management practices for the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) aquaculture in Ghana. On-farm feed management practices were assessed at some randomly selected locations, examining various aspects of feed use in some earthen fishpond and fish cage farms. Earthen fishpond farms are widely scattered throughout the country whilst fish cage farms are concentrated on the Volta Lake. Fish production from aquaculture was 5 594 tonnes in 2008, which is only about 1.5 percent of domestic fish production. Fish farming is thus an emerging industry in Ghana. Nile tilapia accounts for over eighty percent of aquaculture production. Three types of feeds are in use; farm-made, locally produced and imported commercial feeds. Fish feed production and use have not been managed in earthen fish pond farms in a way that ensures maximum returns for farmers. Fish cage farmers were found to depend mostly on imported commercial feeds. Farm-made feeds for Nile tilapia were coarse, crumbly, powdery and sinking. Imported feeds were in pellet form, smooth and mostly floating. Areas into which research should be directed and the need for regulations to ensure the certification of fish feeds (both imported and locally produced) are suggested. The importance of proper storage of feeds was highlighted. Major knowledge gaps exist amongst the earthen fishpond farmers in feed formulation, preparation, use and management.