Sherry Ayittey promises June deadline for idle cold store operation

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister, Sherry Ayittey has assured fishermen in New Takoradi in the Western region that a new but idle cold store will be operational come June 2015.

The new cold store was brought into focus during the 2015 State of the Nation address at which President Mahama told Ghanaians the facility will play an important role in further reducing importation of fish which is down by 21%.

However, although the fisheries conservation facility was completed nine months ago, it is yet to be commissioned as the fishing bounties of local fishermen rot away.

An erratic power supply is also making private commercial storage of the fish difficult and prohibitively expensive. Fishermen are forced to buy large quantities of ice since they do not have consistent power supply to store what they catch.

“We just returned from the sea with lots of fish….but it is all rotting away”, a local told Francis Whajah of affiliate station Radio Maxx.

Despite the fact that the facility is not running, Whajah observed that there is one man guarding the near-white elephant.

Explaining the stalled progress of the storage facility, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister, Sherry Ayittey told Joy News that the blue and white painted building needs a refrigeration system installed and a separate transformer to power it reliably.

She added that plans to use sea water as a source for refrigeration has been scrapped as inappropriate. It leaves the managers looking for fresh water for the building.

The Ministry has had to procure a transformer after the District Assembly failed to find funds to do this. With the transformer comes the attendant need for money for fuel, she said.

Although the Ministry has publicly called for a private operator to manage the huge refrigeration facility to run at a profit, it has not been met with enough interest.

Nonetheless, some of these challenges have been resolved, she said. A transformer was ready to run some tests, she pointed out.

By May or June this year, the dormant storage facility will be a savior for fisherman groaning at the sight of rotten fishes and low profits.

“Certainly”, a confident minister told Joy News.

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