The management of R&B Farms, wholly-owned Ghanaian earthen pond farms has appealed to the government and other donors to support its drive, to provide free skills training in aquaculture for the youth.
Apart from the farm, R&B is putting up an ultra-modern training centre to train people and will provide them with kits to enable them to set up businesses in their communities.
The project, according to Mr Benjamin Turkson, Director of Operations and a partner of the Farms, required donor support for sustainability and to make the desired impact.
Mr Turkson made the appeal when the Sierra Leone Minister of Youth Affairs, Mr Mohamed Orman Bangura, and his entourage paid a working visit to the farms on Monday.
Mr Bangura who is in the country to have first-hand information and to learn best practices of aquaculture highly commanded R&B Farms and underscored the need to create the necessary platform for the youth t,o take advantage of it.
He was accompanied by Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, Central Regional Minister, Mrs Naana Eyiah Quansah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Gomoa Central, and Mr Daniel Arthur Dadzie, Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission.
Mr Turkson indicated that the prevailing challenges in the marine fishing sub-sector required that the government paid critical attention to aquaculture development in the country.
He said many of the teeming unemployed youth could be lured into aquaculture with the right vision, knowledge, and training to make them earn a decent living.
“This is the way to go because there is a lot of things you can do in this area and it pays off big time”, he encouraged.
“We all know that there is overfishing in our marine waters, also, our rivers are polluted and one cannot fish tilapia or catfish in any river in Ghana at the moment; this is the area that government needs to pay much attention to”, he added.
Mr Turkson noted that it was the vision of the Company to introduce aquaculture to the youth at the early stages of their lives to enable them to make it a profitable venture.
“We want to introduce this type of vocation to the youth in SHS, the unemployed in the community, as well as women and we, need government support to train and bring more people on board”, he added.
Mr Turkson, noted again that most players in the industry were foreigners who were mainly into tilapia but his Farms which is the biggest indigenous earthen pond farm in the country had a competitive advantage in catfish.
In barely a year of operations, Mr Turkson said R&B Farms had a total fish stock of over 350,000 pieces of tilapia and catfish ranging from one week to five months old.
Their vision, he said was to produce about two million individual fish stock by the end of the year, process canned catfish, and export to other countries.
The Regional Minister commended the project by R&B, describing it as unique, and said it had come at a time when the youth needed to be empowered.
Recognising the challenges in the marine fishing sub-sector, the Regional Minister was optimistic that development in aquaculture would provide year-round fishing activities and create many jobs.
“This is the way to go, we can not sit down and look for white color jobs”, she stressed while pledging the support of the Regional Coordinating Council to R&B Farms to create jobs for the youth.
She described the idea to introduce fish farming to Senior High School students as brilliant and encouraged the youth particularly, unemployed graduates to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Farms, to get a vocation.
Mrs Eyiah Quansah, who is also the Deputy Minister-designate for Interior who could not hide her joy about the project, hoped that the youth in her constituency would take advantage to earn a living for themselves.