‘The importance of fish for healthy nutrition stands out in our country,’ Ghana’s Minister says
13 June 2014, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met today with Ghana’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Nayon Bilijo, who was in Rome to attend the Committee on Fisheries (COFI).
Graziano da Silva thanked the Minister for attending COFI and praised Ghana’s efforts in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, which have led to reducing extreme poverty by more than half ahead of the 2015 target date.
“Fisheries play a vital role in Ghana, as about 10% of our population depends directly or indirectly on it,” Minister Bilijo said in remarks after the meeting. “We consume between 23 and 25 kg of fish per capita per year and it accounts for 60% of our protein intake.”
“There is no community in Ghana where fish is not consumed on a daily basis,” said the Minister, who also stressed the importance of artisanal fisheries, “which occupy the coastline and rural areas where poverty is predominant”.
Graziano da Silva stressed the Organization’s support to Ghana in tackling Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUF) fishing. He also highlighted that adopting the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU) will not only assist in this field but will also help Ghana to gain the confidence of international and local partners.
In this regard, the Minister noted: “With FAO’s assistance we have developed our national plan against IUF, an activity with which we have had problems.” The Minister explained that he also asked FAO Director-General for training assistance for Ghana’s Fisheries Commission staff “so that we can build our own capacity.”
FAO Director-General invited the Minister to participate to in the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN-2), which will be jointly organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim of proposing a flexible policy framework to address the major nutrition challenges and identifying priorities for international cooperation on nutrition.
“I think organizing this conference means going in the right direction,” the Minister said in remarks after the meeting. “I believe it is very important as it will wake us up to the reality of the day,” the Minister added. He also stressed the importance of understanding “the contribution of fish to good nutrition and its implications to develop an efficient industry that can contribute to food security.”