Liberia and Japan Sign Fisheries Grant Agreement

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Monrovia, Liberia - The Government of Liberia and the Japanese Government have signed a Fishery Grant Agreement for the supply of Motorize Yamaha engines to local fishermen in Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties without cost.

Speaking at the signing ceremony Monday, October 7, 2019, held at the Liberian Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, the Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority commended the Japanese Government for the donation of 400 Yamaha motorized engines to Liberian Artisanal Fishermen.

Mrs. Emma Glassco noted that the “Liberian Government reaffirms its commitment that the donation of the 400 motorized Yamaha engines will be used for the improvement of artisanal fishermen catch and subsequently phase out paddling canoes”.

Mrs. Glassco pointed out that “fishing is a vital social-economic activity for thousands of Liberians and fishing-related activities contribute to the livelihood of tens of thousands more”.

The NaFAA Director General stressed that the artisanal/small-scale fisheries sector has great potential to contribute immensely to the growth of the National Economy.
She said fishermen in the artisanal sector use underdeveloped fishing crafts that cannot allow them to fish long distances as such increasing their fishing effort will improve the catch level.

Madam Glassco emphasized that though faced with numerous problems, the small-scale fishery over time and as of now has remained the main producer of seafood products on the local market, and yet their livelihood remains unimproved.

She noted that sustaining these artisanal fishers has created an alarming concern to the government thereby seeking a grant from the Japanese Government that resulted into this agreement and therefore this donation will effectively boost the fishing effort of the local fishermen to increase the catch, reduce the number of days spent at sea, and further reducing fish spoilage at sea.

The NaFAA Boss declared that the donation will lead to a tremendous decrease in physical loses (spoilage) and astronomical increase in economic gains.

Commenting further, Madam Glassco said with an average crew of 4 within the Kru fisheries, it is expected that over 2000 fishermen will directly benefit from this donation and at least 8000 indirectly benefiting.

Mrs. Glassco mentioned that “compare to migrant fishermen that export the proceeds of their sales, Liberian fishmongers will constantly have access to fish which will be sold on the local markets and the proceeds will be reinvested in the Liberia economy”.

“This is a way of NaFAA contributing to pillar two of the pro-poor agenda for prosperity and development (power to the people)”, NaFAA Boss indicated. She said the motorized engines will be distributed free of charge to fishermen in Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, and Rivercess County. “only fishermen who have been in possession of their licenses for the past five years will be qualified to receive the Japanese Yamaha Motorized engines through the local Co-Management Association (CMA) and the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association (LAFA)” she mentioned enthusiastically during the signing ceremony.

Commenting on measures to be employed by NaFAA, that will include identifying fisher-folks from densely polluted fishing communities and working with them to set up cooperative (this will be a subsidiary of government that will work with the Business Registry and NaFAA will underwrite the cost associated).

The NaFAA Boss said there will be minimum criteria set for the fishermen that will be suitable for the application of the outboard motors. This will include being a member of the CMA or local fishermen cooperative, must have a registered license canoe for at least five years, insurance certificate from an insurance company, fish must be sold to fishmongers only and robust beach inspection program to ensure that all policies are implemented.

Speaking further madam Glassco who is a fisheries expert noted that NaFAA will establish a monitoring and evaluation program to conduct a quarterly inspection that will ensure accountability and there will be certain indicators to ascertain the level of progress (fish production, value for money, supply on the local markets).

She disclosed that NaFAA will organize and develop small business enterprises for collaborative management and put out a bid for tendering of interested companies for the installation of the outboard motors.

The Director-General concluded by mentioning that her management will collaborate with CICA Motors, a local car dealership, to among other things provide specialized tools and spare parts to local mechanics at various landing sites, these she said will include the provision of Yamaha recommended engine oil(2stroke) and ensure that local mechanics are trained by CIC motors specialists.

Speaking earlier, the Japanese Ambassador accredited to Liberia stated that the Yamaha motorized engines to Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority is his Government's way of identifying with the Government and People of President George Weah.

Ambassador Tsutomu Himeno said the people of Japan remained committed to the overall development of Liberia and the empowerment of Liberians.

Also speaking during the ceremony foreign Minister Gbezongar M. Findley commended the Japanese Government for entering into such agreement which is aimed at empowering local fishermen and enabling the local fish sellers to earn more money.

In another development, the Liberian Government through NaFAA has presented a grant proposal (which is being reviewed by the Japanese government for possible consideration) for the construction of a Modernize Fishing Port/ Landing Cluster which includes Processing Facilities, Dry Docking, Fresh fish Market and Marine Store, valued at 7.8m USD to be constructed in Fanti Town, Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.

During Madam Emma Glassco recent visit to the Japanese’s Capitol with the Liberian President George Weah in July of this year, Madam Glassco noted that if the grant proposal is accepted it will significantly reduce post-harvest loss, add value to fish product being harvested to be sold on the domestic market and in so doing, produce certified high valued fish products for export to International markets.

 

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

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