The Promising Prospects for Aquaculture in Liberia

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There was, in the late 1950, an American marine biologist called Miller, serving as Director General of the Government Farm in Suacoco, now the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI).

Mr. Miller introduced the idea of fishponds here, especially at the Government Farm. He also recruited a few Liberians to study Marine Biology in the United States. Notable among them was Bismark Kuyon, a brilliant Gbarnga boy who graduated second of his class in 1958 from the Booker
Washington Institute (BWI). Bismark went on to graduate with honors from Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University), where he earned the BSc in Agriculture (1962), following which he won a fellowship to study Marine Biology in the USA. Within two years he returned with the MSc in that field and commenced his work at Government Farm.

But though he had the brains for Science, he did not have the passion for Marine Biology—or even fishponds. So he did not develop fishponds in Liberia. Bismark went on to work for his church, United Methodist, serving in Education, and he later entered politics.

Let us digress here briefly to tell Liberian young people about the importance of passion, which means burning love, desire, thirst for something—that thing in which you are interested, be it business, entrepreneurship, politics, teaching, whatever. Remember some of the people with passion, who went on to excel—William Shakespeare, who had a passion for poetry and wrote all those great poetic plays that students the world over have studied and enjoyed for centuries. Remember Chief Boatswain of Liberia, who trusted the colonists from America and suspected that they would create something new in Africa, so he defended them in their acquisition of Liberian land on which to do it. Remember Joseph Jenkins Roberts, our first President, whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow. Roberts knew that the only way to realize the dream of the American Colonization Society (ACS) and not allow the little colony to be overrun by the British or French colonialists, was to establish an independent Republic, which alas became, in 1847, Africa’s first! Remember, too, Edwin Barclay, a lawyer and politician, who fulfilled his passion for poetry by composing, both words music, one of the world’s classic anthems—The Lone Star for Ever!

Take Winston Churchill who, though a very poor student—he failed almost every class he entered—yet had a passion for his language—English—and for politics and went on to become Prime Minister of Great Britain. He used his mastery of English to win the war which Nazi Germany waged against England.

With passion, you are bound to succeed at whatever you do—big time!

It has been a very strange coincidence that though Bismark Kuyon failed to develop fishponds in Liberia, his younger sister, Estelle Kuyon Liberty, who was only six when he entered BWI, and a teenager when he finished Cuttington—yet she is the one that developed the passion for fishponds and aquaculture.

She has already built nearly 10 fishponds in her native Gbarnga alone, and has already impacted fish farmers in Margibi and Grand Cape Mount counties. Now, the people in Nimba, Montserrado and Lofa counties are calling her to help them develop their fishponds in their counties.

Yet Estelle spent not a day in Agricultural school. After graduating from Monrovia’s College of West Africa (CWA) in 1966, she entered Cuttington and later graduated from the University of Liberia (UL). She later studied Money and Banking at the Iowa State University and did so well that she was immediately offered a job at the Federal Reserve Bank in Iowa. But being anxious to return home, she left America and started her professional career at Liberia’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs. She has since held several government positions and is now a Commissioner at the Land Commission.

But her passion for fishponds led her last Saturday to harvest thousands of fingerlings from one of her nursery fishponds, for transplanting in other ponds in Gbarnga, owned by her and other Gbarnga fish farmers whom she is encouraging in Aquaculture.

We call on Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah and his boss, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to embrace Estelle Liberty and her dream of spreading aquaculture throughout the country, especially rural Liberia, where fish is scarce and our children there direly need protein.

Remember, too, that aqua-culturists in many places, including the great United States, make billions of dollars annually farming fish and even lobsters in ponds. Here is a wonderful opportunity to create a new, promising and profitable industry in Liberia. Minister Zinnah, go find Estelle Liberty, ask her how you can help her create this new industry in Liberian agriculture, and do everything you and the government can to help her and other aqua-culturists throughout the country achieve this wonderful dream.

There must be NO excuses in this great and definitely achievable endeavor!

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