Tilapia shortage looms as GRDA marks biggest tilapia farm for demolishing

Tilapia Imports It is likely Ghana would experience tilapia shortage

Mon, 21 Mar 2022 Source: starrfm.com.gh

Ghana could face a shortage of tilapia in the market following the planned demolishing of the largest tilapia producing company located in Mpakadan in the Asuogyaman district of the Eastern Region by the Ghana Railways Development Authority (GRDA).

Tropo farms limited, producers of Volta catch tilapia is the largest producer of tilapia in Ghana and the second-largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Established in 1997, the company has a total land area of 2,000 acres and over 300 cages on a portion of the Volta Lake and produces 200 tonnes of tilapia weekly representing 40% of Ghana’s tilapia demand.

It is worthy to note that, Ghana has since 2018 imposed a ban on importation of both live and dead fish, as well as eggs and milt of tilapia after the outbreak of tilapia lake virus in various parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.

The collapse of the company will severely affect the supply chain and fuel shortage of tilapia in the country which will compound the soaring food prices in the country.

The 97.6-kilometer Tema-Mpakadan rail line expected to be completed in March 2022 begins from Tema in the Greater Accra region, through Afienya, North Tongu District in the Volta region, Lower Manya Krobo and terminates at Mpakadan, a few kilometers from Akosombo.

It is part of the 1,000km Ghana-Burkina Faso Railway Interconnectivity Project, which is expected to link Ghana, from Tema to Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

However, there is serious agitation by hundreds of people whose land and properties have been affected by the project over nonpayment of compensation.

Tropo Farms is one of the seriously affected companies with a large part of its lands, fish processing plant, cages in the Volta lake earmarked for demolition for the construction of the Mpakadan Rail Head terminal.

Management of the Tropo Farms Limited, however, says all efforts to engage Ghana Railway Development Authority and the contractor -AFCONS constructions Limited in the past three years for a mutual agreement for payment of compensation and roadmap for a grace period to relocate have not been successful.

Assurance by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mavis Hawa Koomson, to bring finality to the impasse has not yielded results.

Recently armed policemen numbering about 10, accompanied by two excavators and a bulldozer, invaded part of the premises to clear a portion of land, which destroyed the water system of the company and disrupted the electricity supply.

Currently, AFCONS Construction is excavating towards the only road to the company yard which will cut off access.

The Chief Operations Officer of Tropo Farms limited Mr. Andries Zwaga said, the fate of 800 workers employed by the company hangs in the balance warning there would be huge job losses if the operations of the company are disrupted.

“Tropo Farms provides 800 direct employment and 2000 indirect employment. It will have a very serious impact if all of a sudden we have to stop processing our fish because we cannot continue spending money and pay people for something for work that doesn’t exist anymore. If we can’t harvest if we can’t grow the fish anymore the people are redundant. If we stop processing then we may have to dismiss people”.

Mr. Francis Abudu Zimmaleh, Head of Finance and Corporate strategies at Tropo Farms said the company is not against the railway construction however wants the Ghana Railways Development Authority to give the company at least six months for the thousands of fingerlings in the cages to grow and be harvested before construction of the railhead terminal since any activity around the area will lead to the mass death of the fishes which will lead to huge financial loss.

“Food security is under threat that we being cleared without notification that will mean that it will affect our operation and we are not able to produce. we contribute 40% of tilapia in the Ghanaian market”.

The local union of the Ghana Agriculture Workers Association, GAWU, has been meeting over possible job losses.

The local union secretary Francis Prempeh told Starr News ” we are concerned about the possible job losses so our leaders have been engaging government to shift the railway project to save the company either than that about 700 workers will be laid down”.

Anxious workers of Tropo Farms called on the government to resolve the impasse and to provide job security.

“We are worried because this company is our source of livelihood. They pay as on time, they have insured us, pay our medical bills and that of our children.so if the company collapses we are going to suffer. Government must reconsider the decision to demolish the company for Railways development.”

Meanwhile, Tropo Farms has filed a stay of execution to set aside recent High Court ruling that rescinded injunction application by the company whilst it headed to the Court of Appeal to pray the court to stop the demolishing of the fish farm to enable its harvest of the last batch of fish in cages in six months period to avert financial losses.

Source: starrfm.com.gh