Of late it appears Ghanaians have the penchant for apportioning blame on foreign nationals, particularly the Nigerians and Chinese, for every social canker.
A couple of years ago when the ‘galamsey’ menace caught national attention, the Chinese were blamed, even though locals had been ‘gamaseying’ for centuries. So were Nigerians, who were virtually, granted persona-non-grata, for either armed robbery or kidnapping. Of late, even the poor sales of spare parts were put at the doorstep of Nigerian immigrants, with calls from certain quarters to deport them.
So serious was the perception that, at a point, every fake equipment or item in our market was either made in Nigeria or China. In short, nationals of these countries were, for want of a better word, branded unwelcome, to the extent that government officials and members of Parliament had to wade in to matter to caution the public and media against hate utterances and xenophobic attacks on foreigners.
It is therefore not surprising that, in the wake of the recent mortalities on many tilapia farms in the country, the ‘chastising rod’ was directed at Chinese fish farmers.
Even though there are several fish farms in our waters, all of which were affected, the Chinese received the most flak. According to their accusers, they introduced a breed of fingerlings into Ghanaian waters, different from the Nile Naliticus breed that local farmers are used to. Some even attributed the fatalities to over-crowdedness in the cages.
THE NEW PUBLISHER, after a critical study of fish farming in Ghana, does not think the allegations directed at Chinese farmers are true for the following reasons:
If it was true that the introduction of foreign fingerlings contaminated the whole Ghanaian water system, why is it that local tilapia in the same Volta River is not dying? Our findings show that apart from Fujian Farms, non-Chinese farms, such as Volta Catch Limited, West African Fish Limited, Pill Brooks Aquatic and the rest, who do not apply the Chinese farming methods also suffered heavy mortalities.
An investigation conducted into the problem, at the behest of the Fisheries Commission, established that bacterial infection, coupled with environmental factors, such as high temperature and salinity of the water, actually weakened the immune system of the fish.
What the report is silent on, however, are the remedies or recommendations for solving the problem.
It is in this light that THE NEW PUBLISHER wishes to call on the authorities, especially the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to take a more critical look at the quality of feed manufactured locally or imported from other countries.
In addition, since we are talking about bacterial infection, the FDA and GSA MUST look at the ‘seed quality’ (in this case the quality of the fingerlings), irrespective of where they are produced. Regarding the climatic and environmental concerns in the report, we call on the Ministry of Fisheries to sit up and educate fish farmers on changes in weather conditions and what they need to do.
The blame game is not helping our economy as millions of dollars’ worth of investment continually go down the drain.