The government has commenced the distribution of the first consignment of 1,600 new Yamaha outboard motors to fishermen.
The outboard motors are being given to carefully selected chief fishermen in the Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western regions for distribution among fishermen at heavily subsidised prices.
Inland fishing communities along the Volta Lake and other inland fishing areas will also benefit from the package.
Speaking during the distribution of the first consignment of 50 of the 1,600 outboard motors allocated to the Western Region, Agriculture Minister, Mr Kwamena Ahwoi, said the exercise was in line with the government’s commitment to the development of the fishing industry in the country.
He said the price of the outboard motor in the open market was about GH¢8,000 but the government had absorbed 30 per cent of the unit cost.
The minister also said the contribution of agriculture to the country was very enormous so the government would do everything to ensure that the needed tools were made available to the sector.
“I must say the outboard motors are not for only those plying their trade in the ocean but the inland fishermen are also included,” he said.
Mr Ahwoi indicated that the selection of the beneficiaries was done through consultation with various chief fishermen in the Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western regions and the inland fishing communities.
He said one of the problems that the ministry had identified was the fishermen’s inability to purchase the machines outright.
He said with consultation, it was realised that there was the need to subsidise the cost, “therefore those who expressed interest in buying the machines were made to pay 70 per cent of the unit cost while the government absorbed the remaining 30 per cent of the total cost.”
He also said the ministry had taken delivery of the first 800 motors and MASLOC was also importing additional 800 pieces and other fishing inputs to be distributed to the sector.
“I must say that with the subsidy, those who wrote their names paid before the arrival of the machines, which means there is ready money to import more for others who might be interested,” he said.
He said the exercise was an innovation by the ministry to demonstrate to the fishermen that if they formed identifiable cooperative groups, they could achieve more.
For his part, the Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, commended the fishermen for their acceptance of the idea which had resulted in the delivery of the machines to them.
Receiving the motors on behalf of the fishermen of Shama, the Chief Fisherman, Nana Efirmu, commended the government for fulfilling its part of the agreement as promised.