The potential for aquaculture development to make up for an annual 400,000mt shortfall in domestic fish supply was investigated.
Results of the study showed that interests in fish farming continue to grow with an overall annual average growth rate of 16% since 2000. The existing farms, 1300 in number were however very small with a mean farm size of 0.36ha and a median 0.06ha of which commercial farms accounted for less than 3%. Based on sizes, mode of operation and levels of input and output, five subsistence farm types were identified. Mean production from these pond-based farms ranged from 1436kg/ha/yr- to 4,423kg/ha/yr while that of a medium sized intensive commercial pond farm was 45,999kg/ha/yr. Commercial farming accounted for about 75% of 2006 aquaculture production. The main strength identified was the growing interest in both commercial and non-commercial fish farming and the main constraints were lack of quality seed, low levels of technical support and of knowledge in fish farming practices among non- commercial farmers.
Net profits of commercial farms ranged from GH¢ 3,341 (US$3480) /ha/yr to GH¢ 51,444 (US$ 53,587)/ha/yr with pay-back from 1 to 4yrs, IRR at 35% to 105% and NPV from GH¢ 5,898 to GH¢ 236,412. By contrast, only two of the five non-commercial farm types made positive net returns ranging, from GH¢158 to GH¢1100/ha/yr, with minimum playback period of 14yrs, NPVs of less than 1 and the best IRR being just 4%, when initial capital requirements are full costed.
From the market survey, a huge market potential for tilapia was identified with a current supply deficit of 41,000mt. The most preferred sizes by consumers and with potentially good market price for traders were those weighing at least 200g. For dealers, trading in cultured fish was found to be more profitable than trading wild capture tilapia because of lower wholesaler prices, gross profit margins were GH¢ 0.49/kg and GH¢ 0.25/kg respectively. Preference for tilapia was influenced by taste, availability, and its perceived health benefit. A key constraint to the sector was poor post-harvest handling and preservation of the fish resulting in shorter shelf life.
The overall conclusions are that based on natural resource requirements, market potential and financial viability, Ghana has the potential to totally make up the shortfall in domestic fish supply through aquaculture production. The current 400,000 million tons shortfall in domestic fish production can be achieved by 2020 by increasing overall aquaculture production by 60% per annum.
Fish plays an important role in the diets of Ghanaians. It represents 60% of average animal protein intake, making it the single most important source.
Ghana produces only 60% of its fish and demand is sustained by a growing level of imported frozen fish.
Average per-capita consumption of fish is between 20 and 25 kg, making it one of the highest in the Africa. Marine fish contributes over 80% and inland fish about 14%.
Aquaculture worldwide has helped fill the gap between the rising global demands for fishery products and the limited increases in capture fisheries production and is expected to do the same in Ghana.
The 301,000 million tons shortfall in domestic fish production which has since 2006 increased to 400,000 million tons (Ministry of Fisheries, 2006) could be decreased in three ways; by increasing imports, from better management of capture fisheries or through aquaculture. However, imports are becoming increasingly expensive as regional and global supplies are under increasing competitive pressure, and will place an increasing burden on household and national economies.
Ghana annually imports US$ 200 million of fish.
The cost of mechanical construction is GH¢11,900 and GH¢12,800 for manual construction.
Labour costs incurred by small scale commercial producers ranged from GH¢ 500 (US$ 950) per annum for unskilled labour to GH¢ 1,840 (US$ 3,500) per annum for a technician.
The price per fingerling was quite varied ranging from GH¢0.10 to GH¢0.20 for tilapia and GH¢0.20 to GH¢0.30 for catfish.
The need for the application of manure was common knowledge among the fish farmers. In excess of 72% (72.4%) of the farmers applied organic fertiliser in the form of chicken droppings, pig manure, sheep manure or cow dung. About 2% (1.8%) applied inorganic fertiliser and 3.6% applied both organic and inorganic fertiliser. Twenty-two percent (22.1%) of farmers applied no manure or fertiliser, though most of these had virtually abandoned their ponds due to poor performance, harvesting them only for own consumption.
Fish yield per hectare per annum was 2284kg.
Cost of land leased by the commercial farmers were commonly fixed at GH¢ 500.00 per year.
The daily rate for labour was fixed at GH¢ 5 which was the government recommended minimum daily wage.
Capital costs for the commercial farms is GH¢ 12,979.00 to GH¢ 54,245.00.