With the necessary investment in the production of Skipjack, a medium-sized perciform fish in the tuna family, the country would be in a position to take advantage of the US$ 90 million huge market in China.
Currently, according to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) competitive analysis, Ghana exported slightly over US$17.720m of Skipjack in 2017.
The main destination for this export value was to Iran, where Ghana held about 40.8 percent of the market. This market share represents 60 percent of Ghana’s total exports to the world.
Although on a global scale, China holds a huge market for skipjack as it imported to US$ 90million, the country was able to export a total Skipjack of US$ 134.7million, that went mostly to Thailand and the Philippines. The two countries consumed more than 85 percent of the total skipjack exports from China.
Iran imported from several countries in 2017. The Largest competitor for Ghana was Seychelles 40.6 percent, then following Seychelles was China 7.6 percent.
Ghana had no regional competitor among the top eight exporters of the product to the Iranian market.
Whereas the first three competitors (Seychelles, China and Korea) had negative growth rates between 2016 and 2017, Ghana was able to record a remarkable 181 percent growth in value for its skipjack during the same period.
Skipjack from Ghana, like from other actors in the Iranian market, attracted a duty rate of about 30 percent.
Actors in this industry have noted the need for favorable policies by government to ensure the country can remain the tuna hub of West Africa.
Apart from providing direct and indirect jobs, the industry can provide the government with about US$ 250 million revenue annually.
Government has made funding available for the implementation of Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ) – a complementary initiative of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which aims to boost the aquaculture industry, under a three year initiative which is expected to begin this year to 2021.
Under this programme, individuals who wish to take advantage will be provided the required inputs such as fingerlings, fish and training in order to enable them establish their respective farms.
It is expected to create 7,000 jobs and add an extra 33,628 metric tonnes of fish to domestic fish production.
Currently, Ghana imports over 60 percent of its fish. The 2016 figures indicated that more than US$135 million worth of fish were imported because of the reduction in the country’s fish stock. It is estimated that Ghanaians consume over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually.
(By Joshua W. Amlanu)