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General News Sun, 30 Sep 2007

Fibreglass boats to replace canoes - Minister

Apam, C/R), Oct 1, GNA - The Ministry of Fisheries has signed an agreement with an Indian Boat Manufacturing Company to produce fibreglass boats to replace wooden canoes and boats. Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries said this at the Akomas festival of the Chiefs and people of Apam, on Saturday. In a speech read on her behalf she said the Company, FibroPlast, had done the necessary feasibility studies for the beginning of the project.


She stated that the decision to replace canoes and wooden boats with fibreglass ones was to forestall the incidence of sea accidents during storms, which damaged the crafts and to protect the environment through the conservation of trees.


"We need to build boats and canoes that can withstand storms and have a longer lifespan and should be environmentally friendly," Mrs Asmah said.


The Minister announced that a fishing harbour that would have a place for mending nets, cold storage facilities and an ice block manufacturing plant, a fish market and a fuel depot would be built at Mumford near Apam.


She said other facilities would include an early childhood development centre, offices with storerooms, a meeting place, toilets and a machine shop for repairing engines to serve fishermen in the two towns.


Mrs Asmah said the Ministry since its establishment in January 2005 had initiated programmes to revamp the industry to stimulate economic activities in fishing communities through the sale of outboard motors on hire purchase, micro credit facilities, training and alternative livelihood programmes.

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She said that the alternative livelihood programmes were to ensure other income generating activities during the off-season.


Mr Joe Kingsley Hackman, Member of Parliament for Gomoa West, said he had assisted 147 brilliant but needy students to pay their fees and stressed the need for the opening of offices by the utility service providers such as the Electricity Corporation of Ghana and the Ghana Water Company at Apam the Gomoa District Capital.


"People have to travel to Winneba or Agona Swedru to seek redress when there are problems with their services," the MP noted and said, "This does not give real meaning to the decentralisation we are yearning for".


Mr Hackman said contract for the rehabilitation of the road from the Salvation Army Church to Mamfam and Nsuekyir, which formed part of the Apam Town Roads Rehabilitation Project had been terminated due to the non-performance of the contractor.


He said the contract had been re-awarded to another contractor who was expected to move on to the site very soon to commence work. The MP said 400 fishmongers had benefited from the Ministry's credit schemes in the area while 25 outboard motors were distributed to fishermen on hire purchase basis.


He donated items worth about 5,000 Ghana Cedis to the Apam Town Council as prizes for winners of various competitions organised during the festival.

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The items included TV sets, standing fans, cookers, sets of jerseys and footballs.


Nana Essel Botwey II, Queenmother, urged parents to advise their children to travel outside the country with valid documents. They should not venture using routes across the Sahara Desert to get to North Africa en-route to Europe or as stow-ways on-board foreign going vessels in order not to lose their lives. She advised the youth especially the girls to dress decently and asked parents to live up to their responsibilities towards their children.


"Parents should not give their children out to fishermen to be taken to Yeji and other places along the Volta Lake to do menial work," Nana Essel Botwey said.


Nana Edu Effrim X, Apaahene, appealed to the District Assembly to develop Apam to befit its status as a District capital. Mr Kwaw Yenney Bondzie, Chairman of the Apam town Council expressed concern about the falling standard of education in the area and appealed to parents and teachers to help in finding a solution to the problem. He appealed to the government to install a freezing facility for the cold store built by the previous government in the town.

Source: GNA