BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The National Fish Farmers Union of Liberia has announced plans to construct three storage facilities across the country.
The disclosure was made by the union’s chairperson, Konah S. Kollie, in an interview with The Bush Chicken over the weekend in Buchanan. The union is mostly made up of fishermen and fishmongers.
The storage facilities will be constructed in three fishing communities in Liberia with support from UNMIL. The communities include West point and New Kru Town in Montserrado and Fanti Town in Buchanan.
According to Kollie, construction has already begun in West Point and will be followed by the sites at New Kru Town and Fanti Town.
Aquaculture and artisanal fishing have been the focus of the union since its establishment in 2014 with the mandate to coordinate, protect, and empower its members across the country.
Although she did not disclose the total cost of the three facilities, Kollie admitted that lack of storage facilities in the fishery sector has limited the capacity of fish farmers.
“Because we find out that storage is a major constraint that fish farmers are going through if they get their fish from the sea or pond and if there is nowhere to store their fish then the fish spoils,” she told The Bush Chicken. “But when they get storage, it will give them the opportunity to sell and keep their profit.”
She said the storage facilities will allow the fish farmers to preserve their goods until they are needed for consumption, adding that it will ensure a continuous flow of goods in the market.
The storage facility in Fanti Town will be constructed on two acres of land provided by the community and the government through negotiations. The site is already being cleared and fish farmers from various fishing communities have been helping to hasten the pace of the project. The facilities are expected to be constructed and dedicated within two months.
The fishermen stressed the importance of the storage facility, noting that they have been experiencing difficulty in storing their fish.
Alphonso B. Doe, a fisherman who lives in Fanti Town, said over the years he and other fishermen had lost thousands of dollars due to a lack of storage facility. He said this situation has discouraged others from fishing.
“Whenever we come from the sea, we are forced to sell all the fish we catch because when we keep it, all will spoil. So sometimes, the fishmongers usually buy it [for] cheap,” Doe said.
A fishmonger, Nancy Bryant, expressed satisfaction over the construction of the storage, saying it would bring relief to the industry.
“Look, let me tell you that when we catch more fish, it becomes our worry because [there’s] nowhere to keep it,” she said. “We even sell it [for] any price late in the evening so I am very happy about this group to build us a place to preserve our fish.”
The union has already carried out public outreach and awareness in Buchanan about the construction of the facility and its management. The facility will be managed by the farmers through cooperatives to be established in the various fishing communities.
Featured photo by Sampson David