A shipbuilding project in Ghana, West Africa, involving a woman-led Philippine company, has been implemented with the training of Ghanaians at a shipyard facility in General Santos City, Mindanao in Southern Philippines.
A first-ever interregional technical and economic cooperation, the project is a multi-party private sector initiative for the purpose of upgrading and modernizing the fishing industry in Ghana. The project was packaged by Rainbow Fish Consultants of the Netherlands, which was introduced by the Technological Information Promotion System to the Philippine fiberglass-hulled boat maker, Stoneworks Specialists International Corporation.
The initial discussion on the terms of cooperation and the subsequent negotiations resulted in an exchange visit of the principals of the major business partners from both the Philippines and Ghana. These activities culminated in the signing of an agreement at a ceremony held in Accra, Ghana, where major partners and associate partners were present to seal the arrangements for implementing the project. Participating in the implementation of the project are: DaySeaDay, which will export fish catch to Europe; SARFABLES (San Roque Fishermen Association/Bigkis Lakas Eastern Samar), which will train the Ghanaian fishermen; and a Ghanaian NGO, Gratis Foundation, which will recruit the shipyard personnel for training.
According to Stoneworks Chief Executive Officer / President Marilyn Ong, “the role of the Philippine company is to transfer the technology in building fiberglass-hulled fishing boats and to provide the skills in fishing operations. On the other hand, the role of the main Ghanaian partner, Inter-Seas Fisheries Ltd Ghana, is to help modernize the inland and marine fishing fleets and upgrade the fish processing industry in Ghana.”
“Together, these partners, along with associate partners, will engage in a major effort to address the need of the fishing industry in West Africa while contributing to environmental sustainability of the Ghanaian forests. It is noted that building of wooden dugout canoes in Ghana has taken a heavy toll on the forest resources of the country.”
“Under the project, it is envisaged that 9,000 wooden boats will be replaced within 5-6 years, with a projected replacement rate of 1,500 – 1,800 per year. For commercial fishing vessels, about 500 will be replaced with modern fishing vessels made of fiberglass, at a yearly construction rate of 30 – 40 trawlers,” Ms. Ong said.