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US Firm to Develop Aquaponics Project in Ghana

Technology & equipment Economics Education & academia +3 more

GHANA - Ghana's Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) has engaged US based project development firm, Zoetic Global, to develop a multi-region aquaponics program starting in the first half of 2016.

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The Memorandum, signed by Hon. Sherri Ayittey, Minister of MOFAD, is for a series of customized Controlled Environment Agriculture aquaponic systems and Workforce Training programs aimed at improving food security and sustainable practices in the fish farming and agriculture sectors.

"Zoetic is excited to be working closely with the Ministry, aquaculturists and farmers in Ghana," said Zoetic CEO Jerome Ringo, an internationally known figure in environmental issues and former Chairman of the National Wildlife Federation.

"We greatly appreciate the efforts by Minister Ayittey to identify and support meaningful innovations like these, helping keep her country positioned as a regional leader."

The program will feature aquaponic sites across five regions in Ghana –Volta, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern, Upper East and Western – and will combine food production, fish farming, research and workforce training at integrated locations, helping pave the way for nationwide adoption.

"We believe the science of Aquaponics holds real potential for Ghana in addressing land management issues and overcoming resource challenges facing inland fisheries," said Minister Ayittey after planning meetings with Zoetic leadership on Monday.

"Zoetic has offered strong solutions and a readiness to engage my team to make these efforts successful."

The collaboration between MOFAD and Zoetic has also received direct affirmation from Ghana President John Dramani Mahama, who expressed interest in the potential for aquaponics and new agricultural technologies to drive new workforce participation and attract a younger generation of farmers to this critical area of Ghana's economy.

The planned projects take on new significance in light of recent announcements from the Paris Climate Conference, particularly due to aquaponics' ability to reduce carbon emissions and produce food using up to 95 per cent less water than traditional agriculture. Zoetic is also engaging delivery partners in Southeast Asia to add innovative Cold Storage solutions to enhance local food distribution.

Aquaponic systems combine conventional aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) into symbiotic systems that can produce fish, fruits, vegetables, feedstock and other plant products year-round in climate-controlled environments.

These systems continuously filter water from fishery operations, fertilizing crops as plants take up the nutrients and return clean water back to the fish. Controlled environments and the constant availability of rich nutrients from fish accelerate plant growth, resulting in organically grown produce, regardless of season, with up to 60 per cent faster growth for many crops.