As Liberian Fisheries Cooperatives receive free outboard engines
President George Manneh Weah began the distribution of the first batch of outboard engines Saturday, 23 October 2021 at a well-attended grand launch on the Fairground in front of the Unification Pavilion in the port city of Buchanan to 23 Fisheries Cooperatives from all the landing sites.
Making the presentation at the Fairground in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, President Weah declared that the donation which is first of its kind was his government’s assistance to Liberian fishermen across the country.
President Weah reminded the fishermen that he is a Talk and Do President, terming the donation as a promise fulfilled. It can be recalled in 2019 a Liberian delegation headed by President Weah visited Japan and negotiated among other things, assistance for the overall development of the Liberian fishery sector.
A National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) press release issued over the weekend says the free outboard engines distribution is currently affecting paddling canoe fishermen established into Fisheries Cooperatives by NaFAA in collaboration with Cooperative Development Agency (CDA).
The Fisheries Cooperatives which comprises fishermen, canoe owners, fish processors, fish sellers, safeguards, and other fishing community residents/dwellers are drawn from the nine coastal counties in Liberia where fishing activities are on the increase.
Following the return of the Liberian, Liberian fishermen were informed of a pending free outboard engines distribution across the nine coastal counties. The outboard engines were anticipated in 2020 but they were delayed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected the production of the engines.
Presenting an overview of the project, the Director-General of NaFAA described the distribution ceremony as an intervention by President Weah intended to take the paddle canoes, fishermen, from “Paddle to Engine.”
She said this “provides hope and empowers Liberian local fishermen, thus putting them in a position to compete with their foreign counterparts.”
Madam Emma Metieh Glassco stated further that “we can now boldly say, in the words of my President, H.E George Mannah Weah that the fishermen of Liberia shall never be ‘’ Spectators in their own Economy” but active players.’
Disclosing how the outboard engines initiative came about, the NaFAA Boss revealed that in densely populated rural coastal areas such as Grand Bassa, Maryland, and Grand Cape Mount counties which lack job opportunities, fishing provides alternative livelihood opportunities for their respective population.
She said, “it was on this basis that we were able to present a strong case to our development partners for support and also considering that the full potential of the wealth of aquatic fish resources Liberia possesses is yet to be harnessed.”
Madam Glassco recalled that the Liberian fishery delegation was extended an invitation to attend the Sustainable Use Meeting in Japan 2018.
She the delegation had the opportunity to meet the Japanese Authorities responsible for fisheries and its related matters, noting that Liberia acceded to certain international conventions/protocols which were some of their benchmarks to become eligible for such grants to the fishery sector.
Following that, she said Liberia submitted its proposal through the local base JICA office in Liberia for onward submission to the government of Japan.
According to her, the project proposal approved was in two folds: the construction of a landing and storage site in Buchannan and the outboard motor engines, and both projects valued at 7.6M USD. –Press release