The University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) in Somanya is scheduled to roll out an MSc. Aquaculture and Biotechnology programme in the 2022/23 academic year.
Speaking at a meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Head of the Department of Water Resources and Sustainable Development of the University Dr Michael Tuffour who was part of a-UESD- visit to the Ministry said, aquaculture is a very critical area for the ministry to pay attention to because of its direct impact on society.
The meeting which took place in the Minister’s Conference room was one of UESD’s visits to industries that share similar mandates with and, aimed to form partnerships or collaborations. The delegation was led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson and some faculty members. They were met by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, with some unit heads and technical advisors.
Dr. Tuffuor indicated that the Ministry’s goal of promoting an accelerated fisheries sector in the medium and long term would be more significant and better served if it combines Aquaculture Biotechnology for higher yields in fisheries.
He explained that adding Biotechnology will help utilize biological systems, the fishes and other related living organisms to help create different products to benefit the country in the not-too-distant future.
Commenting, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson mentioned that the University’s core mandate borders on training a new breed of graduates who are skilled and equipped with the expertise required for enhancing environmental development and sustainability.
In keeping with this vision, Prof. Nyarko-Sampson said, there is a need for the University to form alliances with industries, governmental outlets and agencies and NGOs to build relations that will contribute to the holistic training for students.
He stated that such relations could be in the form of shared experiences and expertise, shared seminars and conferences, joint proposal writing, shared data, UESD programmes review and students’ attachment and internships. This is why the team is meeting with the Management of the Ministry to begin a collaboration or partnership.
The Minister, Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, who was excited at the visit, revealed that to ensure that the Ministry’s vision to develop ensure that Aquaculture is well developed and positioned the ministry has arranged to embark on a number of research projects and activities which will require expertise in academia and students who will perform diverse roles in the process. She invited her technical team to make inputs.
The Deputy Minister, Mr Moses Anim, highlighted the need for the University to stay true to its mandate and not veer off its courses He acknowledged the heightening temptations the University may encounter for purposes of increasing student numbers and Internally Generated Funds and introducing other unrelated programmes which could end up derailing such institutions from the main purpose of their establishment.
Contributing, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Kwesi Armo-Himbson was certain that a collaboration with UESD could help the ministry to effectively exploit its potential with inland water fishing and also devise appropriate schemes to deal with local dwellers around and adjacent to such inland water bodies. He said the students of the University could also be enrolled as enumerators for such projects and be taught canoe frame research.
The Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Samuel Quartey, revealed that Somanya is now the biggest producer of inland fishes, and a collaboration between the two institutions would definitely broaden the scope of transactions for the ministry. The partnership could also foster the Ministry’s efforts to identify other fish species for aquaculture other than tilapia and catfish. Mr. Quartey expressed confidence that collaboration with the University could fashion out a more pragmatic solution to resolve the perennial fish feed shortage.
Management of the UESD is expected to present a draft Memorandum of Understanding to the Ministry in the proposed area of collaboration.
Other members of the UESD delegation were; the Dean of the School of Sustainable Development, Prof. Anthony Amoah, Dr. Christian Ayisi Larbi, Dr. Isaac Larbi and Dr. Andrew Limantol-Lecturers all in the School of Sustainable Development, and the Head of the Community Engagement, Project and Innovation Unit, (CEPIU) Mr. Daniel Ofori Mintah.
Other members of the MoFAD team were; the Executive Director (Mr. Michael Arthur-Dadzei), The Director, RSIM (Mr. Ishmael A. Browne), Director of Finance and Administration (Ms. Rosemary Abbey) as well as Ms. Nana Ama Boah and Ms. Postia Kumahof the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry.