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From Best Practices to Best Outcomes in Ghana

For over 25 years, Paul Osei Kwame has operated a successful 25-acre farm in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. While Oseibros Farms originally ran on poultry, crops, and maize grit extraction, Osei decided to add aquaculture to his operation in2008.

He made a wise choice—he now has 20 ponds full of Nile tilapia fingerlings that he sells to other local fish farmers.

Osei’s success lies in his belief in the application of science to agricultural production. He wants to “get it right” by learning and applying best management practices in his fishponds.

His transition began in 2009, when Oseibros Farms participated in a water quality study conducted by Feed the Future’s Aquaculture & Fisheries Collaborative Research Support Program, housed at Oregon State University. The study led to the development of best management practices for reducing the negative effects of pond discharges into local streams. Osei has enthusiastically adopted the recommendation to lower the frequency of pond draining to both save water and lessen the environmental impact of his farm’s pond. “While the best practices help in improving on-farm activities, they also contribute immensely to the effective regulation of waste disposal,” Osei says. 

The focus of Feed the Future’s aquaculture program in Ghana shifted in 2011 from research toward technology dissemination, with the aim of demonstrating how increased fish farm productivity, profitability, and environmental benefits can be simultaneously achieved in the production of Nile tilapia. Oseibros Farms participated as one of six demonstration sites to test two best management practices to lower production costs and fish feed waste.

The preliminary results of these best practices have been positive. By replacing sinking fish feed with a type of feed that floats, fish farmers were able to save money on feed costs. The farmers also reduced costs by learning to reuse pond water rather than refilling ponds with new water at the beginning of each new production cycle. 

Osei has now fully embraced the Feed the Future model. He has taken on a leadership role in his local fish farming community and provides training on his farm. He also hosts university student interns and sponsors outreach activities for elementary and secondary schools.

Today, with higher profits from cost savings and a commitment to a lighter environmental footprint, Osei is further expanding his aquaculture operations. In the future, he plans to start new fish farms at two other locations and process fresh fish on-site, with an eye toward entering the export market.