Local fishermen and fish sellers want the Liberian government to mitigate the nation’s post-harvest fish losses by making fish processing facilities operational in major coastal communities.
“We have to auction our fish to avoid early deterioration; our fish is not a profitable way of doing business; we have no choice, but to do business the way it is until we can see post-harvest facilities in our coastal communities become operational,” said Theresa Bayon, Women Wing Secretary of Liberian Artisanal Fishery Association.
Fish Preservation Practices
In coastal communities, smoke-drying fish is the common preservation technique that sellers of the commodity apply to keep the fish from rotting early. Moreover, some of the sellers used ice blocks as another means to preserve their fish.
“To meet the demand for fresh fish, we buy ice and put it on our fish. This technique helps us preserve our fish for longer hours than the ones without ice on them,” said Cathrine Varh.
However, National Coordinator of the ongoing West African Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP) in Liberia, Yevewou Subah, said that the Liberian government and partners are working to improve conditions in the country’s small and middle scale fisheries sectors.
Subah said that the fishery preservation cluster facility constructed in Robersport, Grand Cape Mount County, through the West African Regional Fishery Project is intended to lower the number of fish losses due to the absence of post-harvest facility.
He said the facility is yet to begin active operation, but sources have disclosed that the facility lacks machines for both its ice plant and cold storage room.
Also in 2011, the “Food Security through Commercialization of Agriculture (FSCA) Project,” four ‘Post Harvest Technology Platforms’ were built in Grand Kru and Montserrado Counties. But fishing folks disclosed to this reporter that one of the platforms that was constructed in the King Gray Community, Paynesville, outside Monrovia, has not been operational since it was dedicated.
“It was last year the building was painted and the zincs were changed, but it has remained emptied since it was constructed. No work is ongoing at the moment, and we do not know when work will begin,” said Fisherman, Enoch Morris.
The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the FAO implemented the US$2,250,000 project (2008-2012).