Ghana’s goal to nearly double its aquaculture production this year is only feasible if problems related to seed stock, feeds and fish health are solved.
“No effort should be spared to maximize our aquaculture production”. These were the recent words of Ghana’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, when she announced plans to increase the country’s aquaculture production – which mainly consists of tilapia – from 58,000 to 100,000 tonnes this year.
Whilst this target is achievable, its achievement may be difficult to meet without first addressing a number of challenges facing the country’s more remote fish farmers – problems that can be related to health issues as well as feed and seed stock supply.
Ghana has over 1500 small scale pond farmers who find commercial feeds too expensive, so they compound their own feed on-farm, using alternative feed sources like cocoa pod husk, palm kernel cake and copra cake. Whilst most of the ingredients used are proven to be viable, they are not produced under strict bio-secure conditions, and naturally affect the final product.
At a recent fish health workshop Jacques Magnee, technical director at Raanan Feeds, discussed health challenges which have been faced recently by Raanan’s client farmers. Outbreaks of Streptococcus agalactiae, he said, had affected farms since last July and have caused up to 20 per cent mortalities. The bacteria are becoming antibiotic-resistant, and – in the absence of available Streptococcus-resistant strains in the region, the most effective antidote is vaccination. Unfortunately, many pond farmers swear by antibiotics, and do not agree to use vaccines until significant losses are registered.
Source: The Fish Site // Original Article