The Ghanaian Tilapia Value Chain
A simplified representation of the Ghanaian farmed tilapia value chain is shown below:
The most cultured tilapia in Ghana is a strain of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, of the Volta river system. The strain, the ‘Akosombo strain’ is being selectively bread for enhanced growth rate at the breeding center (BC) (Figure 1). The BC also provides brood stock to hatcheries. Research and development output and other information on tilapia culture feed the whole value chain.
There are hatcheries as sole enterprise activity and others as part of farms. The situation is due to earlier commercial fish farmers having no hatcheries to obtain fish seed from and therefore incorporated hatcheries in their farms and still operate them. Fish seed produced by hatcheries invariably do not attain fingerling size before they are sold to farmers. There are no specific tilapia nurseries yet in the value chain. Thus farmers nurse fish seed to fingerlings and follow through grow-out to harvest size for sale at their farm gates.
‘Farm gates’ of relatively bigger farms are now positioned outside their farm premises. A situation apparently convenient to both wholesalers and farm operators. From the farm gate, the farm product gets to consumers directly through the hospitality industry or through distributors and traders.