Women call on Ghanaians to insist on quality fish
By Samuel Hinneh
The consumers of fish and fish processors have been urged to demand for quality fish during purchasing at various markets and landing sites respectively across the country to ensure sustainable fishing practices.
Madam Lydia Sasu, the Executive Director of Development Action (DAA), a farmer based organisation stressed the importance of adopting safe and sustainable fishing methods and processing techniques, during the 2016 World Rural Women's Day (WRWD) held in Apam, organised by the DAA, an implementing partner of the USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP).
"It is in this light that the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) - a 5-year food security project that focuses on assisting the Government of Ghana to achieve her fisheries sector development objectives of poverty reduction and hunger has seen the need to observe this day to draw attention to the needs of avoiding unwholesome fish caught through unapproved methods and processing,” she explains.
Fishing activities along the coastal belt have become a great concern to the government, policy makers as well as development practitioners due to usage of chemicals such as detergent, dynamite, DDT by fishermen to in their duties.
Madam Sasu called on fish processors and consumers to consistently demand for quality fishes devoid of chemical contamination to promote effective wellbeing, at event on the theme, ‘Say No to Bad Fish – My Role’.
The event held every 15th day of the month of October annually, is a practical way of recognising the multiple roles that rural women play, including indigenous women who are mostly farmers, fish processors and small-scale entrepreneurs in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development, Madam Sasu states. "But limited access to credit, health care and education are among the many challenges they face, which are further aggravated by the global food and economic crises and climate change, ” she adds.
Madam Sasu emphasises that ensuring women empowerment is key not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce worldwide.
"The DAA is concerned that the rural woman’s inaccessibility to land may offset the gains being made by the SFMP relative to improvements in post-harvest processing and livelihoods of women,” Madam Sasu emphasises.
According to her fishing is a major economic activity in Ghana, especially among communities that live along the coastal line.
"However, the fishing industry in Ghana has over the years not seen much development due to inadequate investment in the sector’s stakeholders especially women who play vital role along the fish industry value chain,” she says.
"We want to emphasize the point that one person cannot reverse the problems in the fisheries sector. We need the concerted effort of all resource users in the fisheries’ value change to put hands on deck and say ‘No’ To Bad Fish and Bad Fishing Methods to save marine fish stocks for posterity,” she notes.
A project officer at Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA), Mr Nicholas Smith, says fishermen are reluctant to change their unapproved means of fishing practices even though fish processors are leading the drive for change.
"A lot of them do not participate in programs aimed at promoting sustainable fishing practices. Some are still using dynamite, detergents in fishing and once someone confronts them they usually say laws do not work in Ghana,” he stresses.
The Konkohemaa of Apam in the central region, Nana Efua Kwenstiwaa also says, "whenever we call on fishermen to help in the fight against unapproved fishing practices they don't turn up and still engage in the practices of using unapproved means.”
In the year 2004, the DAA initiated the yearly celebration of World Rural Women’s Day in the rural communities in Ghana. Since 2006, DAA in collaboration with other farmer / fisher folk groups such as the Farmers Organisation Network in Ghana (FONG) have been organising the World Rural Women’s Day celebration.
The 2016 event was supported by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), YARA and World Food Programme (WFP).