Value Addition, Avenue for More Income-Hawa Koomson
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson has described the theme for this year’s farmers day celebrations, thus, ‘’Accelerating Agriculture Development through Value Addition’’, as apt adding that sustainable value addition provides the opportunity for more income, jobs, wealth, and foreign exchange for continuous enjoyment of the benefit of our natural resources.
According to her, accelerating the development of the fisheries sector through value addition would require the provision of improved processing technologies that meet the international standard for export and consumption. It would also require developing the capacities of the traditional fish processors who are mostly women.
Speaking at the grand durbar of the 38th National Farmers Day celebrations at Koforidua in the Eastern Region, the Sector Minister indicated that, fish value addition in Ghana was largely small-scale and involved the application of traditional processing methods such as salting, smoking, drying, and frying.
However, she emphasized, these traditional methods of fish processing often do not meet international standards but rather, European Union-approved standards using the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) method should be adhered to.
She disclosed that ‘the Ministry was collaborating with the Food Research Institute to improve value addition in the sector. As a result of the collaboration, new fish products such as fish powder, fish kebab, fish sausage, fish balls, and fish floats have been developed and uptakes are being encouraged to commercialize these products.’
Hon. Koomson mentioned that under the FAO NORAD-funded project, “Empowering Women in Small-Scale Fisheries for Sustainable Food Systems”, four fish processing facilities at Elmina, Dzemani, Tema, and Axim have been equipped with IT equipment, furniture, personal protective equipment, and many others. to facilitate both practical and theoretical training programs for small-scale fishers including fish processors.
In addition, she said, two fish processing centers have been constructed for off-takers and fish processors in Takoradi and New Ankasa to reduce post-harvest losses under the GIZ-MoFAD AFJ Project in the Western Region.