By Lincoln G. Peters
National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) Director-General Emma Glassco says despite the significant role played in the fishery sector, women are faced with daunting challenges including the absence of relevant tools and technical skills to enhance their productivity.
At the start of a two-day international consultative fishery meeting on the establishment of the Liberian chapter of the African Women Fish Processors and Trade Network (AWFISHNET-Liberia) on 1 November 2021, Madam Glassco identified cultural practices and tradition as major barriers to women’s acquisition of land for fish farming.
“However, with all the important women are to the sector, they are still faced with enormous challenges, such as lack of modern processing techniques, making them work in hazardous condition, lack of preservation and cold storage facilities and transportation,” she said.
“Also, women in fishing are even more challenged, as they have to face cultural practices and traditions that deny them access to land for their farms,” Madam Glassco added.
According to her, the organization is established to primarily focus on enhancing women’s support in fish processing, fish sale, and fish farming capabilities and potentials for sustainable and equitable development, food security, poverty eradication, and safeguarding of the environment.
Madam Glassco described the role played by Liberian fishmongers or sellers as pivotal to the economic growth of the country’s fisheries sector, saying fishmongers determine the overall quality of the fish being consumed daily.
The two days workshop will facilitate the formation of the network’s Liberia chapter. AWFISHNET is a not-for-profit, non-political and non-religious network that focuses on enhancing women’s capabilities and potentials for sustainable and equitable development, food security, poverty eradication, and safeguarding of the environment.
It is a platform that seeks to strengthen women fish workers’ position and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and continental agenda of ending hunger in Africa.
It also seeks to reduce poverty by the year 2025, given its key role as an active player in the fisheries sector of African society in line with existing national, regional, and global instruments, policies, and strategies.
The idea to establish the women’s network of fish processors and traders was conceived in November 2016 during the African women’s training on fish Handling, Hygiene, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measure along with the Post- Harvest Value Chain.
The founding members confirmed that a lack of such organization and institutional participation by women in the sector is a significant indicator and source of marginalization, where inequitable access to fisheries governance is directly related to inadequate and insecure access to resources.
The network was launched in April 2017, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, during the Consultative Workshop that declared its headquarters to be in Mwanza as a coordinating body for its members involved in fish processing and trade.
Representatives of the African Union Inter-Africa Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and AWFISHNET, Mrs. Funmilola Shelika and Dr. Annie Lewa graced the program.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/weah-promise-fulfilled/–Edited by Winston W. Parley