Harnessing the opportunities and overcoming constraints to widespread adoption of cage aquaculture in Ghana
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Understanding cage aquaculture adoption decisions and factors affecting adoption is necessary to ensure that fish production from cage aquaculture in Ghana is both significant and sustainable. The goal of this study was to provide a framework for understanding cage aquaculture adoption decisions and to identify factors affecting adoption, to inform decision makers as they formulate policies aimed at promoting cage aquaculture adoption in Ghana. I surveyed 122 respondents comprising current cage fish farmers, farmers who have abandoned cage aquaculture, and potential adopters of cage aquaculture such as, fish traders, fishermen and land-based fish farmers. Respondents answered questions related to knowledge, interest, constraints in cage aquaculture, and demographics. I used non-metric multidimensional scaling and discriminant function analysis to identify unique groups within the respondents, classify respondents according to their position in the innovation-decision continuum, and identify factors affecting cage aquaculture adoption. Based on their differences in knowledge and interests, I placed respondents into one of three stages of the cage aquaculture innovation-decision process model I developed: (1) Unawareness, (2) Knowledge, Persuasion, and Decision (KPD), and (3) Implementation (Confirmation and Abandonment). Respondents in the KPD and Implementation stages had knowledge, were more interested in cage aquaculture, and were aware of constraints in cage aquaculture, whereas respondents in the Unawareness stage lacked knowledge and interest in cage aquaculture, and did not clearly understand the constraints. Respondents who were males, belonged to the tribes Ewe and Akan, and who had fishing experience tended to be more interested in cage aquaculture. The lack of capital, high input costs, inability to adequately market fish, theft, lack of information sources, conflict over water use, and cage destruction by storms, were identified as the main constraints to cage aquaculture adoption in Ghana. The results of the study suggest that programs aimed at encouraging new entrants into cage aquaculture should focus on demographic characteristics such as gender, and tribe. However, demographic characteristics may affect adoption decisions and it may be important to consider them as such. Some recommendation to address the major constraints in cage aquaculture include: the Fisheries Directorate should (1) develop an efficient extension program that farmers can access regularly, especially, for farmers with no other information sources, (2) provide feed subsidy to enable farmers produce fish at competitive prices, (3) facilitate the formation of fish farmersâ cooperative groups that would purchase large quantities of feed, (4) encourage local production of high quality fish feed, and (5) develop credit facilities that can be accessed by individuals interested in cage aquaculture to assist potential farmers who would, otherwise, not be able to adopt cage aquaculture . In addition, fish farmers should (6) be proactive in marketing their fish by identifying potential niche markets prior to production, and (7) join cooperative groups to ease the burden of accessing loans to increase production.
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