The founder and president of the Bong County Aquaculture Association Madam Estelle Liberty have called on the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture, non-governmental organizations and county authorities to support women farmers in the county.
Madam Liberty made the call recently in Gbarnga, Bong County when she harvested her three fish ponds. She said the women are working tirelessly.
“Some of these women in this business are widows who cannot afford to do otherwise,” she said.
She said with possible support from government, non-governmental organizations and county authorities there will be huge boost in the sector.
Madam Liberty used the occasion to encourage local farmers to focus on their farming since it is their means of livelihood.
She said what prompted her to set up the organization is the interest of the women of Bong County to engage in agriculture, and following the support from organizations like Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), with technical support from Center for Agriculture Research Institute (CARI).
She disclosed that the issue of road to market remains a major challenge for farmers adding that the produce spoil and sometimes when they harvest their fish ponds due to the lack of storage facilities they spoil and cause serious problems for the farmers.
Madam Liberty harvested different kind and types of fishes including heterotis refer to as the bonny ton.
Heterotis fish originated from Egypt and grows up to 12kg and it takes two years from finger lings to maturity while tilapia takes six months for fingerlings to get mature and grow up to 1kg.
Also speaking at the harvest was Grow Liberia Portfolio Manager, Mr. Kelvin Doesieh who said access to market remains a major challenge.
He said many farmers have complained to his organization concerning issues such as market, cold storage or a place to keep their food or fruits.
He said as efforts to help farmers the organization is working on some key important concerns raised by the farmers by bringing up strategies that will help keep their food and that the produce will be sold to consumers as a means of promoting their activities.
He disclosed that the major problem facing the effective work between farmers and organization has to do with the lack of documentation, information amongst others.
“The farmers don’t present document that will indicate what they have done or proper records of activities they have done. But we will continue to work and provide them better education,” Mr. Doesieh said.
For his part, CARI head of Fishery Department Mendela Hinneh said CARI has been providing mechanical support to farmers by educating them on how to feed the fishery and other animals.
He described Aquaculture as very important because it creates a healthy environment for animals.