Expert projections indicate a potential annual revenue of $2 billion (€1.8 billion) from shrimp farming in Ghana, which has excited the country’s President John Dramani Mahama, who foresees it overtaking incomes from oil and gas if successful.
Investors are now being sought to help the country to develop its marine resources, as there are many thousands of hectares of undeveloped estuarine, coastal and saline flood plains suitable for shrimp farming.
One of the pioneers of Ghana's shrimp farming industry is The Ghavie Aquaculture Company, which set up its first pilot scale commercial shrimp farm in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana in 2013, with assistance from Vietnamese partners -- a cooperation first for the two countries.
The hatchery and 500 hectares of ongrowing ponds are situated at Ada Foah, near the mouth of the Volta River, behind sea defense dikes. Seawater is pumped to the facility through a 350-meter pipeline, to feed its 34 x 2-meter-square concrete tanks.
Gravid female black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) are bought from local fishermen, who collect them with beach seines, and charge around $30 (€27) for a 200g female, which can carry two million eggs.
The first batch of shrimp were hatched and grown to post-larvae stage in December 2013, and were fed on Royal Dragon monodon feed, from Shang Long Bio-Tech in Vietnam, which is a subsidiary of aquafeed company Thang Long in Taiwan.
The grow out stage, which took five months, produced 12 metric tons, which were frozen and test-marketed locally.
The success of the pilot encouraged the company to seek additional investment to expand production to 50 hectares of ponds. As electricity costs are high to pump water, a new site has been located that would be allow water to be supplied by gravity.
The expanded farm will have the capacity to produce 15 million post larvae per month and to supply finished product for export to the EU and North America.