Up until now, the fish food required for rearing the fish, from the starter food for the finger cots to the food for larger fish, has been imported from other European countries. Due to the high inflation in Ghana in combination with sharply increased prices for transport, especially during Corona, the price of the fish food has increased many times over. Ultimately, the fish food costs ate up the profit from fish farming, so that the production could no longer cover the costs.
While touring a fish farm in the south, Oxford and Fred learned from a fish farming specialist that you could make your own fish food with the right ingredients and using a slightly modified commercial fufu machine.
But what is a fufu machine ?
In Ghana it is the main ingredient or side dish of many dishes. To prepare it, cassava or yams and green plantains are cut into pieces in a two-to-one ratio, boiled and pounded in a large mortar until a chewy mass is obtained.
Since this type of preparation is quite complex, the first fufu machine was developed in 2004 by the Ghanaian electrical appliance dealer Fadegnom Charles.
A commercial fufu machine for making large quantities of fufu is basically a large meat grinder with the typical auger, most often powered by a small petrol engine.
In our case, the meat grinder's press disk was modified so that instead of one large string, oblong pellets are being created.
It took a few attempts to correctly dimension the holes of the press disk.
The necessary ingredients are all made from plants that are grown in Ghana and can be bought at local markets.
A specialist in fish farming from the south was then hired specifically for training purposes.
In a direct comparison between the imported and home-made fish food, the fish clearly preferred the home-made one.
However, it is unfortunately not possible to produce the very small food for the finger cots with the modified fufu machine. This so-called starter food must still be imported. However, it is only needed for a short period of time during the growing process.
The self-made fish food has several advantages for fish farming in Ghana:
First, it reduces reliance on imported feed, which is expensive and difficult to source.
Second, it allows better control over the quality and composition of the food, which can be adjusted if necessary to suit the needs of different fish species.
Third, it creates an additional source of income for the fish farmers who can sell the food to other producers.
Fourth, it promotes the use of local resources and added value in agriculture.
The fufu machine is a simple but effective tool for creating cheap, yet nutritious and tasty fish food from plant-based ingredients.