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Liberians to Prioritise Aquaculture

LIBERIA - The Director of the Bureau of National Fisheries has highlighted the potential of aquaculture to help alleviate poverty in the country.

The Director of the Bureau of National Fisheries, Yevewuo Z. Subah, has called on Liberian farmers to see aquaculture as one activity in the agriculture sector that can build up the livelihood of people, reports Liberian Observer.

Aquaculture is the process of raising fish and other kinds of seafood such as shrimp and oysters, much in the same way agriculture works. In the same way, portions of land are sectioned off to grow certain kinds of food, portions of water bodies are sectioned off (usually using nets) for raising sea food.

Speaking to reporters at Klay Fish Hatchery on 10 October, Mr Subah said the quality of fish on the market is presently poor owing to the fact that many people are not engaged in fishery, yet the entire population depends only on sea fish to survive.

The Fisheries Bureau Director said engaging in aquaculture will also help give time for the sea fish to multiply.

The National Fisheries Director, who toured aquaculture sites in Montserrado, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties along with participants of a workshop on fishery, told reporters that Aquaculture is one lucrative venture that is new in Liberia and emphasised the need to attract local entrepreneurs to the business.

Mr Subah said the goal of the workshop on aquaculture is just that. He added that the Ministry of Agriculture is also embarking on empowering farmers in that direction.

Stressing the issue of farmer empowerment, Mr Subah asserted that until farmers are incentivised regarding the significance of their trade with more attractive incomes for their labor and support from government, people will shy away from farming.

He then urged farmers to exercise patience as the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is making every effort to ensure that they are subsidised and that those who need employment get it.

Liberian Observer reports that Mr Subah described aquaculture is a viable economic venture.

During the tour, the team visited one aquaculture site known as 'West Aqua', located in Louisiana, Caldwell, in Montserrado County, where the cage system is being introduced.

Speaking to journalists including the Daily Observer, the proprietor, Jonah Tarley, who is a retired US Army officer, said he got the idea of the cage system of aquaculture from the Philippines while on duty in that Asiatic region.

Mr Tarley, whose site is located near the bank of St Paul River, said at present he has about 5,000 species of fish including the African catfish.

Unlike the normal pond style that many Liberians are aware of, the cage system is such that the wide net is tied at various points in the tributary of St Paul River with rubber barrels connected to it.

Mr Tarley said if the government wants the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) to succeed in the agriculture sector, then aquaculture should be embraced, as the few farmers who are undertaking agricultural projects in the country still import goods to enhance the activity.

Attempting to get materials out of the Freeport is difficult at times and could result in the death of the fish he and his Pilipino group are raising, Mr Tarley said.

Tunde Raji, who is also engaged in fisheries, vegetable production, owns a large number of animals of various kinds including donkeys, horses, cattle, goats, sheep and birds. He called on the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage farmers by helping to provide basic needs such as feed, fertilizers and subsidies.

the Fish Site Editor

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