Ghanaian and Nigerian Fish Farmers ‘Face Off’ in Accra

‘Although we’ve had several interactions online, including two well attended webinars’, this is the first personal interaction we’ve had, and it was very useful. We have had similar experiences and challenges, and it was useful sharing them. Some very good business negotiations have been done, and we believe that by the time we meet in Abuja next year, our industry would have made good strides’.

Cafan Pres Sunday Onoja
Session in progress

Mrs Mabel Quarshie, National Treasurer of the Ghana National Aquaculture Association, made these observations about the Regional Aquaculture workshop organised by the West African Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society, on the back of the Aquaculture 2024 conference which came off in Accra from.

Dr Lanre Badmus, Regional Director, West African Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society,  said that ‘we have been interacting regularly, mostly through webinars and online discussions. This time we thought it was time to bring together the key players in the aquaculture space and future leaders to consider some crucial issues affecting our industry. Aquaculture is very crucial to the West African economy, and since there is already considerable movement among players in this sectore, we thought it wise to bring people together in a way that will impact our business. And I can tell you that this has been very successful’.

Cafan Pres Sunday Onoja
Dr Nelson Ossai

‘For example’, he continued. ‘there was some detailed discussion on the need to move away from the West African practice of targeting harvests of way above 1 kg. The farmers agreed to start targeting 400 to 500 grams, which is economical of both space and time. Although people in the processing sector appreciate big fish, the average consumer is the crucial factor here. I believe we will be seeing a reflection of this on the market soon. Also, quite an amount of information was shared on the efforts being made in Ghana to develop commercial feed from alternative feed ingredients, and results of very recent trials and experiences were shared. I believe we will be seeing some new products soon, based on ingredients like duckweed, azolla and algae. For a very long time, fish farmers in West Africa have spent over 70 per cent of their budgets on feed, and this does not make for a profitable industry’.

Aquaculture in Ghana has been significantly influenced by Nigerian business. Nigeria supplies a substantial amount of the fingerlings used in the Ghanaian industry. And the point-and-kill tilapia grill business, introduced by Nigerians to the big cities some five years ago, has become a big hit with Ghanaians, and may be considerably responsible for the virtual takeover of the aquaculture space in Ghana by catfish.  

Session in progress

Mr Stephen Onoja, President of the Catfish Association, said that ‘it was great meeting my Ghanaian counterparts in person. We have discussed some very important issues, and I am going away with some new ideas from here. In Nigeria we regularly meet with fish market operators to try to agree on better prices which reflect increases in the prices of feed and other commodities. I shared our experiences with the folks here, as well as our new strategy of blast freezing our produce, which enables us to avoid post-harvest losses. I am ready to help bring bring our engineers here to help install some blast freezers. Regarding the experiences here, I have learnt about the bulk purchase of tilapia and catfish from farmers, which is then sold to the hotel and catering industry. That is something we must adopt in Nigeria’.

Although it was not on the programme, a Ghana vs Nigeria Part 1 ‘face-off’, took place at the restaurant of the World Trade Centre, venue of the event. Ghanaian and Nigerians were treated to fufu, a West African delicacy, with tilapia soup. Marks were taken, and the results will be declared at Part 2, which will come off at the next aquaculture event in Abuja Nigeria. Only the menu, fufu and catfish soup, is known so far. Further details will be provided soon.     

WAS Prez Areola 'jams' with student delegates
Ghana + Nigeria delegates

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