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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Ghana Fish Imports Ban: Will Action Bring Desired Result?

Ghana last week banned fish imports in a move to boost the local aquaculture sub-sector but even the country’s Agricultural union has expressed concerns over the planning of the move.

Ghana’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Sherry Ayitey described the government’s decision to ban the import of Tilapia fish, which is a very popular part of Ghanaian cuisine, as necessary to spur growth in the budding local aquaculture sub-sector.

More than 90 percent of Ghana’s annual fish demand of 880,000 tonnes is serviced by imports which the government costs at $2 billion annual, only 42,000 tonnes of that, just a little over 4 percent, is produced locally.

The ban, the minister said, will boost the local industry’s participation in the industry and create 50,000 jobs, something desperately by the country’s many unemployed youths and struggling economy.

However, concerns are already being expressed over the government’s move, or rather implementation of the move. The concerns come from nowhere else than Ghana’s Agricultural Workers Union GAWU.

The union’s Deputy General Secretary Edward Kareweh, although welcoming the ban, said the government was yet to produce its strategic policy to increase local tilapia production. Explaining that the ban must be backed by a concrete plan for it to succeed, Kareweh described it as “an opportunity for government to outline its policy measures in respect of increasing Tilapia production within the country”.