A Turnkey Fish Processing Plant, constructed by Expotec International Limited of India at a cost of US$7.48 million, with funding from the EXIM Bank of India, has been opened at Elmina in the Central region.
The ultra-modern Plant has facilities for descaling, gutting, filleting and packaging of fish and a blast freezer.
Other facilities at the plant are a cold storage facility with a capacity of 100 metric tons, an ice block plant, a waste processing component for producing fish and animal feed, clinic, canteen and a crèche.
The Plant was inspected by the sector Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, accompanied by the Deputy Central Regional Minister, Hon. Thomas Agyei Baffour and the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) Municipal Chief Executive, Nana Appiah Korang.
Speaking at the ceremony, yesterday, to open and formally hand over the Fish Processing Plant to the management team, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD), Mrs Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, lauded the project for the benefits it would bring to local fishermen in terms of post-harvest handling, improvement in the quality of fish caught and better returns for their catch as they could now carry ice along for fishing, process and freeze their catch and put them in cold storage.
Mrs Quaye noted that development projects for the fisheries sector, which included the development of fishing harbours, provision of cold storage facilities and landing sites, and the establishment of the Anomabo Fisheries College, signified the commitment of Government to improving the wellbeing of fishing communities by creating the enabling environment that would create jobs and wealth for themselves, their children and their dependants.
She disclosed that Government had engaged a Ghanaian Management team, Raphael Spectrum Company Limited, to work with the contractor for a six-month supervisory period after which government would fully take over.
She, therefore, charged the management of the facility to put in place sound management systems to effectively manage the facilities and keep its standards.
The Fisheries Minister later paid a courtesy call on the Central Regional Minister, Hon. Kwamena Duncan, who applauded MOFAD for providing the fish processing plant which, he said, would ensure that during the bumper season, fishermen would be able to make profits on their catch to improve their livelihoods.
The Fisheries Minister also called on the Omanhene of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kwadwo Conduah VI, at his palace.
Nana Conduah commended MOFAD for the various positive interventions being made to enhance the development of the sector.
Nana Conduah, however, urged the Fisheries Ministry to procure the services of specialists to test the fishes harvested from the sea, in order to check the activities of some recalcitrant fisher folk who continued to use dangerous chemicals to degrade the marine environment.
He advised the ministry to collaborate with the chiefs along the coastline to help in the fight against the use of chemicals in fishing, and pledged his continuous support to the cause.
Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)