The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. D. D. Kuupole has called on banks in the country to provide flexible start-up capital for people who venture into aqua culture business to help alleviate poverty and also augment the protein needs of the country.
The Vice-Chancellor made this remark when he closed a five-day course designed to train people in the production of tilapia and aquaculture business at the Ainoo-Ansah Farms at Okyereko near Winneba in the Central Region.
The project is a Public Private Partnership between the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (DFAS) of the College Agriculture and Natural Sciences of the University of Cape Coast and Ainoo-Ansah Farms. The project is being funded by the Council for Technical Training and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET).
The fishing industry in Ghana is not able to meet the huge demand for fish in the country and statistics indicates for example that the amount of fish landed in 2012 was less than half of the country’s fish demand for that year. The partnership is therefore, aimed at helping to train Ghanaians in Fish Farming to produce enough fish for local consumption and export.
The Ainoo-Ansah Farms has a large field of aquaculture facilities for the breeding of fish from the scratch. That is, from the egg or larvae state through maturity stage for both tilapia and other species of fish stock. They are also into piggery employing an innovation that reduces the usual pungent odour that emanates from the typical traditional pigsty. The farm currently has 150 pigs.
The five-day training programme was aimed at providing training to persons who want to start or venture into the production of fish and also for those already in the aqua culture business. The series of training programme which began in August has drawn participants from academia, financial institutions as well as prominent individuals in the Ghanaian society and also from other countries in West Africa namely Liberia, Gambia and Nigeria.
The proprietor of the farm, Mr. Jacob Ainoo-Ansah in a remark was grateful to the University for partnering them to train and build the capacity of persons who have expressed the desire to enter into the aqua culture business in the country. “We decided to start the fish farming business since we had a vision to add some value to fish farming. We did not want to do it for ourselves alone but to bring in others so we can impact the society positively”, Mr. Ainoo-Ansah stated.
“As we started developing this farm some people thought it was crazy to do such a thing in this remote corner or bush. But we knew what our deficiencies were and worked towards turning them into opportunities”, he declared.
The Head of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Dr. Noble Asare underscored the fact that, fish farming could be done through partnership and therefore urged participants of the workshop to also consider coming together to start their fish farming business. He stated that it was for that reason that the DFAS and the University had partnered Ainoo Farms to share best practices and research on fish farming so as to benefit the entire society. He said food security was important in the development of any country, adding that the natural source of producing fish has been dissipated therefore the solution was to resort to aqua culture.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. D. D. Kuupole said he was particularly happy that eventually there has been a practical collaboration with the private sector that has begun to show positive results. “What we do at the department is purely different from what is done on the field and therefore I pray that this business grows so that with time it can even offer Ph.D programmes”.
“Universities are today told to be entrepreneurial, so those who choose not to have these skills will be left out”, he noted.
The Vice-Chancellor was convinced that one day the collaboration will grow to become one of the applied sciences at the University. He indicated that currently the former ways of getting fish on the dining table was no more effective. “We know that our fishermen are catching nothing, we are therefore left with nothing but to farm fish. I am very much hopeful that you will be getting us the fish we need on our dining tables henceforth”, he implored the participants”.
Prof. Kuupole told the participants that their training would go a long way to alleviate poverty and also augment the protein needs of the society. He urged the Department to ensure that the collaboration grew and not relent in their efforts since they were in the right direction.
The Vice-Chancellor later presented certificates to the participants. With the Vice-Chancellor were the Provost, College of Distance Education, Prof. Isaac Galyuon;Dean, School of Biological Sciences, Prof. Johnson Boampong and the Project Director of the Centre for Coastal Managementof the School of Biological Sciences and Coordinator of the Aquaculture Project, Dr. Dennis Aheto.