We will empower coastal communities – Dr Bawumia

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP presidential candidate for the 2024 general election, has outlined a comprehensive vision for the coastal communities of Ghana, particularly focusing on the fisheries sector, during his campaign tour to some coastal communities in the Western Region.

At the core of his vision is the commitment to support the efficient implementation of a robust fisheries plan that encompasses both marine and inland fisheries, as well as aquaculture. This plan aims to build on several achievements of the NPP to address various challenges faced by the sector, including delayed automation of the entire premix fuel distribution, inadequate cold storage facilities, overfishing, illegal fishing practices, and limited access to credit and financial services.

Dr Bawumia indicated that he envisions a thriving fisheries sector that harnesses the abundant resources from our seas, inland water bodies, and aquaculture ventures. Therefore, his commitment lies in the efficient implementation of a comprehensive fisheries plan that not only maximizes these resources but also ensures sustainable practices across all subsectors – industrial, semi-industrial, and artisanal. Additionally, he indicated his resolve to adopt digitised, innovative, and climate-smart technologies for processing, value addition, and marketing of fish and addressing the aforementioned challenges.

Recognizing the pivotal role of women in Ghana’s fisheries sector, Dr Bawumia pledged to amplify their voices and empower them economically. “FAO reports that the participation rate of women in Ghana in the fisheries sector is 40%. I dare say, this may be more. I will amplify the voice of women in this important sector and the socio-economic role they play while providing improved access to finance and smart technologies”, he stressed.
He also noted that his vision is informed by his government’s monumental investment in the sector to enhance marine security, uplift coastal communities, and support fishermen and the task ahead. He outlined that under the leadership of the NPP, the government recreated the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and equipped the Fisheries Commission in addition to constructing coastal fish landing sites across various municipalities and districts and investing in sea defence projects through the Coastal Protection Project. It has also undertaken initiatives notably premix fuel automation, allocation of GH¢2 million to prevent ISKVD outbreaks, and the provision of patrol boats to enhance production and safety.

However, the finishing dynamics keep changing due to illegal activities in our waters, climate change, and fishing techniques sophistication. These call for continuous investments in infrastructure, including the operationalization of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit and public fish hatcheries, the completion of the One-Stop Aquaculture Training Centre, and the construction of Aquaculture Centres in Amrahia, to enhance the capacities of our fisherfolk. Dr Bawumia underscored that his initiatives align with the new National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy of Ghana.

Source: Kwame Barfi?Kessben FM Accra

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