The government of Liberia through the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority have signed two cardinal fisheries projects with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) aimed at strengthening the Liberian fisheries sector.
According to a NaFAA press release, the agreement was signed on Monday, April 26, 2021. And the two Fisheries projects include the ‘Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) during and after COVID-19 and the Assessment of Sea Cucumber Fisheries along the coast in Liberia’.
The Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) during and after the COVID-19 project is valued at US$749,000.00 and it will impact about one thousand Liberian fishmongers (women who process fish and sell ). The ‘Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) during and after COVID-19’ project is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 1,2,3,8,9, and 14.
At the same time, the Assessment of Sea Cucumber Fisheries project is valued at US$91,000.00 and will last for a period of twelve months with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO providing technical support.
The Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) during and after the COVID-19 project is funded by the Japanese government to the Liberian government through NaFAA, and is implemented by the FAO while the Assessment of Sea Cucumber Fisheries project is funded by the FAO.
The expected outcome of the Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) during and after the COVID-19 project is aimed at food security and poverty reduction and the outcome of the Assessment of Sea Cucumber Fisheries project is to develop a sea cucumber management plan which will be the first of its kind in the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking during the signing ceremony which took place at the Mesurado Pier near the Coast Guard Base on Bushrod Island, the Director-General of NaFAA disclosed that FAO has been one of the first international partners to expressed interest in helping the Liberian government to manage sea cucumbers.
Madam Emma Metieh Glassco disclosed that sea cucumbers have been newly discovered in Liberian waters and it is valuable internationally on Asian markets as such the Liberian government attaches great importance to the fisheries.
“I would like to say thanks FAO for its prompt intervention that would help bring about holistic assessment of sea cucumber fisheries in Liberian waters, the government through NaFAA wrote to FAO for technical support” Madam Glassco stressed during the signing ceremony.
Commenting on the Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) project the NaFAA Boss pointed out that women play a pivotal role in fish processing, distribution and sales but not much priority is given to them and they are referred to as ‘fishmongers’.
Madam Glassco noted that the project will be meaningful in helping with the processing of fish through the construction of basic fish smoking infrastructures such as ‘smoke ovens within densely populated fishing communities and also provide storage facilities for fishmongers first of its kind in Liberia.
Speaking further Glassco added that the project will enable the distribution of solar freezers to three fishing counties as a pilot project, this she added will be history-making in the Liberian fisheries sector.
Madam Glassco disclosed that the major challenge in the fisheries sector is the lack of storage facilities which always results in a post-harvest loss.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier, FAO Country Representative to Liberia Maritztou Njie noted that the Liberian fisheries sector is very important to its citizens, strengthening food security and providing direct employment for those along the coast.
Madam Njie said the Livelihood Empowerment of women in small-scale fisheries (SSF) project has two main objects namely to improve the productive capacity and resilience of small scale fisheries operators especially women and the second is to enhance the capacity of fisheries sector stakeholders on the Port State Measure Agreement and Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated fishing for sustainable fisheries resource management.
She mentioned that the achievement of the two objectives will meaningfully contribute to the reduction of poverty, food security and livelihood for women within fishing communities.
Meanwhile, speaking on the Assessment of Sea Cucumber Fisheries the FAO Country Representative promised that FAO will provide the technical support to ensure that NaFAA achieves its desire objective to produce a sea cucumber management plan.