THE Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is promoting catfish farming in the Effia-Kwesi-mintsim municipality of the Western Region.
The farming, done in tarpaulin ponds makes it easy for anyone to set up the technology even in his home stead, without going to do it on arable farms in rural areas.
The tarpaulin ponds for fish farming can be compared to hydroponic farming for crop cultivation, where land space does not necessarily limit the farmer.
The innovations, apart from addressing the lack of arable lands for fish farming, would also create jobs and incomes for many communities.
The Municipal Director of Agriculture for Effia-Kwesi-mintsim, Mr John Kwamina Gyimah, told the Ghanaian Times that “the innovation was to address the issue of protein, food security and income generation ventures for the teeming youth.”
Mr Gyimah said the idea was to rear catfish in ponds created with tarpaulins and wood because of lack of land and space or backyards, adding that “the pond needs to be very hygienic so that the fish could even survive in water for 48 hours in a cool place.”
Apart from the tarpaulins, the expert said, farmers could construct earthen ponds three feet wide, four feet long and 15 feet high.
The Director of Agriculture said water should be pumped into the pond from a nearby borehole or any “assured water” and the farmer would be ready to produce catfish for six months.
Stressing on water quality before embarking on catfish production, Mr Gyimah explained that fish is like crops, wherever they were found, operated in a medium and needed the conducive PH levels to thrive.
He told the Ghanaian Times that the PH showed the alkalinity or acidity of the medium (water) at all times and that the levels ranged from 6.5 to 8.5, adding that 7.0 was neutral and safe.
He reiterated “It does not mean you just start fish farming, collecting fingerlings and putting them into the pond’s (water).
“No! It is not arbitrary, you need to know the PH of the medium by testing the water quality. Fish have their tolerance levels to thrive else they will not be able to survive.
“To ensure that the water quality is right depending on the location. Even if it is tap water, you need to test the PH levels.
Mr Gyimah, therefore, advised catfish farmers to use good sources of water, whether it was a borehole, well, stream water, underground or others and it should be free from chlorine, salt, iron, oil or other dangerous chemicals and contaminants.
Streams and or spring water, for example, should be properly channelled and filtered as screened to remove predators, adding “These are geared towards addressing the constraints I have enumerated”
Materials for catfish production, he said, were within the environment and that feed for the fingerlings was available on the market.
Mr Gyimah told the Ghanaian Times that catfish farming holds huge potential for the local economy.
Source: Ghanaian Times