Aquaculture in hana #1
Ghana is one of the countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region with the potential to dramatically increase its fish production through aquaculture. In this two part special focus on Ghana, we examine two major issues; alternative feed resources and best management practices.
Alternative feed sources by Francis Ekow de Heer
fter some years of mild growth, Ghana’s aquaculture industry is now set to play a crucial role in the economy, especially in closing the wide gap between local fish demand and domestic production, which burdens the nation with a high annual fish import bill. Quite a number of local and foreign investors are showing interest in this sector. One major issue set to give the industry a badly needed boost is the availability of alternative feed resources, which hold the prospect of significantly reducing the fish farmer’s production budget. In 2013, the government launched the FAOfunded National Aquaculture Development Plan, which is being implemented over five years at a cost of US$ 85 million. The programme aims to improve the viability of the aquaculture business, and to raise national fish output from the present 27,750 metric tons to 130,000 metric tons by the end of 2018. Over 80 percent of commercial fish farmers in Ghana are engaged in the production of Nile tilapia, whilst the others are engaged mostly in the production of African sharp-tooth catfish.
Demand for tilapia, a delicacy in Ghana, is very high, even though at between US$ 2.50 and US$ 3.00 per kilo it is way above the world market price. Fish consumption in Ghana increased from 900,000 metric tons in 2013 to one million metric tons in 2014, but local output in the two years was less than 450,000 metric tons. Ghana, whose current per-capita fish consumption is 25 kg/person/year, imports US$ 200 million of fish annually. The decline of local fish production over the years is due to the use of outmoded equipment and illegal fishing methods, especially lights, chemicals, explosives and small mesh-size nets. Age-old plans for introducing fibreglass boats are yet to be realised, so Ghanaian artisanal fishermen still use canoes and drag-nets to produce 70 percent of local output. Aquaculture is fast gaining pace as an alternative source of animal protein as Ghana’s marine and freshwater fishery production decline. Interest in aquaculture has been growing steadily in recent years, but a major issue of concern to farmers is the cost of feed. On average, feed costs take up 70 percent of a fish farmer’s budget, due mainly to the 30 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | July-August 2015
fact that maize, the major ingredient, is also the major feed source for humans. The use of non-conventional feed sources, which until recently had virtually no commercial value, would substantially reduce the aquaculture production budget and attract more investors. Among the alternative ingredients which are currently being deployed in aquaculture are cocoa pod husk, palm kernel cake, wheat bran and sunflower cake. Cocoa pod husk (CPH) is derived from the remains of the fruit after the beans, which comprise 25 percent of the fruit, have been extracted. Over 3720 metric tons of CPH can be generated annually. Scientists in Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere have long proven that CPH is viable as poultry, pig and fish feed. For example, Ashade and Osineye (2013) reported that “CPH could suitably substitute up to 100 percent” in the diet of tilapia. Adewumi and Olalaye (2010) reported that CPH was one of several plant residues that had been tested and found to be suitable substitutes for conventional fish feed. Some aquafeed producers have started using CPH as substitute for maize. Palm kernel cake (PKC) is the residue