A mobile app — a fish farm tracking app — that helps manage and market fish farming was launched yesterday in Accra to wrap up a three-year project on improving aquaculture in the country.
It would provide a digital solution for general fish farm record keeping, data collection, production management, basic fish health and water quality monitoring, business and economic management.
It would also serve as a real-time online fish market, provide extension support to farmers and provide a platform for fish farmers to communicate with colleagues, customers and experts.
A consortium of international and local research institutes, led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and the Water Research Institute (WRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) implemented the project titled “Accelerating Aquaculture Development in Ghana through Sustainable Production and Dissemination of Nile Tilapia Seed (TiSeed).”
Launched in February 2019, it aimed to address issues in the tilapia stocking and extension system to improve the productivity and profitability of tilapia cage and pond farming in Ghana, with particular emphasis on women and young small-scale fish farmers.
The Director of Research, Statistics and Information Management at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr. Ishmael Adjei Brown, who launched the app on behalf of the Sector Minister, said that the application and knowledge gained from the project would boost the sector.
He urged the Fisheries Commission to help implementers scale up their work and advised grantees to share the knowledge and skills gained with others.
In a presentation, the project manager, Dr. Catherine Ragasa, said the project was implemented in seven regions; Volta, Eastern, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo and Greater Accra, with $1.4 million from the Netherlands and other sponsors.
She said 378 fish farmers, area officers and youth have been trained, with 36 hatchery and nursery operators supported to improve their operations with research papers and other materials to facilitate knowledge acquisition.
She said the TiSeed project has contributed significantly to the increase in fish production in the country by 2,500 tons from 2020 to 2021, especially among aquaculturists.
“More than half of the trained farmers experienced lower fish mortality, faster growth and heavier fish and also improved their record keeping, water management and biosecurity practices.
“The training resulted in an increase of 0.48 kg of fish caught per square meter, an additional income of $627 per trainee per year on average,” said Dr Ragasa.
CSIR-WRI Director, Prof. Mike Atweneboana, in a speech read on his behalf, said that when the project started, the tilapia seed system was compromised leading to loss of poor quality seed, losses jobs and food insecurity.
Commending the implementers for overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 to achieve their goal, he called on the stakeholders to adopt the project’s best practices to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
A senior FC official, Ms. Jennifer Viglo, said that the fishing sector is a source of employment for many people in the country, hence the need to do everything possible to maintain it.