Business News of 2013-12-05

Cold storage facility for Prampram

A one million euro cold storage facility to address post-harvest fish losses has been handed over to the people of Prampram in the Greater Accra Region.

The Spanish FAD-sponsored refrigeration facility is the first of six to be located in different fishing communities at a total cost of $7 million.

Other communities to benefit from the project include Shama, Nyanyano, Kormantse, New Takoradi and Half Assini.

No post-harvest losses

At a short ceremony at Prampram last Tuesday, the district assembly took over two newly constructed cold store rooms, one freezing tunnel, an ice bin and a flake ice factory.

In a brief speech, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Aquinas Quansah, said the funding arrangement for the project commenced in 2006 but the construction of the facility was delayed due to some circumstances that he did not mention.

He said there were plans to include a fish-processing plant which could be used to add value to the fish which could be sold on the domestic market or exported for foreign exchange.

“The days of throwing fish away during bumper harvests ... is over,” he said, as the fishmongers and fishermen who had gathered clapped their hands with joy.

Mr Quansah said government was exploring how a private investor could be brought on board to help with the management of the facility.

In the interim, it would be managed by the district assembly.

The President of the National Fisheries Association of Ghana, Flight Lieutenant Miltiades Tackey, noted that the lack of cold storage facilities had resulted in a lot of wastage in the system.

He told the fishermen that the ice from the flake ice factory could help them keep their fish fresh while they were on the high seas.

The Member of Parliament for Prampram, Mr Enoch T. Mensah, urged the managers to maintain the facility and also to ensure that enough revenue was generated to fund the construction of similar cold stores in other fishing communities.

Electricity supply

The Chief Fisherman of Lower Prampram, Nene Sosey Quarshie, stated that the facility would be beneficial, if electricity supply was uninterrupted.

Salomey Tsotso Teye, President of the Fishmongers Association, told the Daily Graphic that most fishmongers in the area were hawkers who had to walk for hours in search of buyers “and sometimes we are forced to dispose of the fish when they are not bought. This is the main reason for the loss of capital by many of the fishmongers here.”

Janet Doku, a 56-year-old fish monger, said the fishermen were of late recording low catches and that when the fish was not patronised, they were not able to keep the fish in their domestic freezers, which had little space.

“ I lost GH¢3,000 worth of fish during the last season as a result of lack of proper storage facility. This cold store has come at the right time,” said Ms Doku.