Stakeholders within the fisheries sector are calling on the government to pay crucial attention and invest in the fisheries and aquaculture sector to ensure sustainability.
According to them, there’s the need for sustainable management of the country’s ecosystem as well as the improvement of the livelihoods of people living in and around communities in the wetlands and the promotion of efficient fishing technologies amongst Ghana’s fish processors.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the sidelines of a workshop on the social protection coverage and financial inclusion amongst Ghanaian fisher folk, Director of CERATH Development Organisation, CDO, Paa Kofi Osei-Owusu, noted that the importance of small-scale fisheries to the food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of many people within the coastal areas cannot be overemphasized.
“As an organisation, we found out that, there is something that is missing within the fishing communities and one of them particularly, has to do with the adoption of improved technologies to reduce our cost of processing. So, mindful of that, we looked at a holistic approach where first and foremost there is an advocacy component. There is also a component on improved fish smoking technology and also social protection.”
He further stated that, “For instance, Ghana as a nation has the national health insurance scheme. We are taking advantage of that because there is a big gap in terms of community knowledge about the adoption. So we are working extensively with the NHIS offices in the various districts”.
Gender Research and Policy Advisor, CDO, Maame Kyerewaa Brobbey, also called for more sensitization on the need to adopt social protection services and the usage of mobile money services amongst fisherfolk in coastal areas.
“The important thing, concerning the challenges, are for the fisherfolk to be educated on how to use their mobile phones to access mobile money services. So we are looking at training them. We will also possibly try to partner with the services providers to educate and sensitize the fisherfolk. Cash continues to be king, but with the national financial inclusion and development strategy to promote a cash light economy we should make sure that we don’t leave the fisherfolk behind,” she said.
The fisheries sector in Ghana remains a high-value sector with substantial investments from both foreign and local investors.
It principally encompasses marine fishery, inland (freshwater) fishery and aquaculture fishery as well as related activities in fish storage, preservation, marketing and distribution.
The sector also constitutes an important sector in the national economic development strategy and is estimated to contribute 3% to the total GDP.