President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for work to begin on the Elmina Fishing Port rehabilitation and expansion project.
Under the project, existing facilities, such as the administration block, subways and workshops, will be rehabilitated and upgraded.
The port will also have a new fishing harbour with a main breakwater, a lee breakwater and quay wall where larger fishing vessels will berth and offload safely, a dedicated access to the port and warehouses for storage.
Additionally, the facility will have sheds for a fish market and net mending, two cold stores, ice factories and a day care centre.
The rest are beach and coastal protection works, as well as restoration work on the Elmina Castle area to promote tourism.
The project will be financed with funds secured from Belgium.
The President, who cut the sod yesterday, said similar projects had taken place in various coastal areas in fulfilment of the government’s plan to construct 10 fishing and landing sites across the coastal belt of the country.
He said the government was committed to providing adequate fishing infrastructure, and mentioned Moree, Mumford, Gomoa Fetteh, Senya Breku, Winneba, Axim, Dixcove, Teshie, Jamestown and Keta as the beneficiary communities.
He said when completed, the project would boost fishing and contribute significantly to the economy, while providing about 60 per cent of the nation’s annual protein needs.
The fishing industry provides about 11 per cent of the agricultural sector’s contribution to national productivity — the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — and also employs about 20 per cent of the country’s workforce.
“The government believes that more can be done in terms of the export of processed fish and other fish products. It is, therefore, essential to improve fishing infrastructure, cut down post-harvest losses and reduce fish imports, while increasing earnings on value-added fish products,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo urged the chiefs and the people in the beneficiary communities to ensure the regular maintenance of the facilities when completed.
“All of us must appreciate that the deterioration of infrastructure and other assets of state is an enormous drain on the nation’s resources and this port must not suffer the fate of other facilities that suffer from poor maintenance culture,” he said.
The Omanhen of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kwadwo Conduah, said the project had been on the area’s development agenda for long and thanked the government for working towards actualising it.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, said the region would enjoy more development projects by the government to improve on the lot of the people.