FFDC, UNMIL Welcome Trained Fishery Technicians from Ghana

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Monrovia – The Faimaba Fisheries Development, Inc. (FFDC) and its sponsor, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), held a Welcome Program for beneficiaries of a five-day training program held at the FLOSELL FARMS in Sogakope, Volta Region, Ghana.

The beneficiaries are Harris Mallay, Aquaculture Manager; Patrick Y. Mawolo, and Oscar D. Daryoue.

All beneficiaries of the training program in Ghana are fishery technicians of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), the Government of Liberia’s regulatory arm of the nation’s fishery sector, by sponsored by FFDC, a private implementing partner to UNMIL.

The training was part of the UNMIL QUICK IMPACT PROJECT for the Liberian fishery sector, under the theme, “Enhancing Conflict Prevention and Peace Consolidation Through Increased Food Security in the Fishery Sector.”

The program, which was mostly about briefing by the training beneficiaries on new fishery ideas they acquired in Ghana, was held on April 18. 2018, at the FFDC’s head office, Emanline Hall, Du-Port Road, Paynesville, outside of Monrovia.

In his Welcome Remark, the Executive Director of FFDC, Mr. Edwin Bonar, said the one-day Briefing was to give participants opportunity to learn the fishery methods the training beneficiaries had learnt in Ghana.

Only two of the beneficiaries—Harris Mallay and Patrick Y. Marwolo—were available for the briefing, and they did a joint presentation.

In his presentation, Harris Mallay said, “We went to Ghana to learn mostly about Tilapia.”

In his study of the Tilapia fish in Ghana, Mallay said this breed survives in a water temperature measuring 12-35 degrees, survives on a food called O. niloticus, has a growth rate of 150-250 grams in a six-month period, and that the sexual organ of a male Tilapia from the female is known by the “20-30% harder than the female,” he said.

Picking up from where his colleagues stopped, Patrick Y.Marwolo said his Ghanaian teachers told him that only 500—being the maximum—of Fingerlings (babies Tilapia) should be packaged for transportation to a place far from the Nursery, and that ice should be placed around the bag containing the Fingerlings.

On feeding schedule, he stated “four times daily” (for Fingerlings), and for feeding methods, he mentioned ‘broadcasting’ and ‘response feeding’. The former is the routine feeding method, while the latter is supplying the food based on the Fingerlings’ demand or lack of interest due to loss of appetite.

During the Question/Comment segment for participants, Mr. Sizi A.S. Kpadeh, Director of Aquaculture & Inland Fisheries, NaFAA, said the use of salt in Aquaponics (as one of the presenters said his Ghanaian teacher had suggested) destroys the plant.

Mr. Zurbah F. Gorvego, National Consultant, FFDC, said the major obstacle to the growth of the Liberian fishery sector is the current lack of knowledge in production of fish feed.    

On his impression of his training, Harris Malay said he was overwhelmed by the Ghanaian fishery sector, unlike how he feels about his country’s. “In Ghana, there’s a support from the government and private financial institutions to fishery projects and activities by individual persons or organizations, which accounts for the boom in the Ghanaian fishery sector. I haven’t seen this kind of such support in our country.”

Giving a proof of his claim of the thrive of Ghana’s fishery industry, far above Liberia’s, he talked about the owner of FLOSELL FARMS, Evans Kwadzo Danso, who has become a  millionaire, he said, from his fishery farms and training facilities.

“This guy’s fishery farms  developed faster in a short period, and he paid in a short time the money he borrowed,” he said.

The Executive Director of FLOSELL FARMS was trained as a Biochemist, but later took up fish farming after he returned from Canada, Harry Marwolo said.

On the major problem responsible for the stagnation of the Liberian fishery sector, the FLOSELL FARMS-trained Liberian fishery technician pointed to poor research for the sector.

“This result to limited harvest in fish food and livelihoods, and is also responsible for the Liberian fishery sector being on subsistence for a long time up to now,” he said.

He said Liberian fishermen currently produce the total of 48, 000 tons of fish each year, and that this number is too small to attract any big-investment foreign business person who wants to enter into a partnership with a fish-farming organization.

Liberia has a total of 300 fish farmers in 160 communities nationwide, and a total of 1, 704 ponds covering a total of 113.9 hectares. 

On the challenge of the training in Ghana, each of the two presenters talked about the training time (five days) being too short to learn everything his sponsor (FFDC) wanted him to learn.

For the construction of the Aquaculture facility in Liberc\ia, UNMIL had hired the Environment Aquaponics Technology (EAT), a company owned by a white man who identified himself as “an Englishman”, and is based in the Republic of Cyprus.

According to the Englishman, EAT has already started construction of the facility in New Kru Town, one of three fishing communities of Montserrado County.

“EAT’s tasks are to build the Aquaponics farm and train students of Liberia’s Aquaculture Institute of Liberia and members of the Liberia Artisanal Fishermen Association, or LAFA, to manage the facility,” said Mr. Jonathan Ayre, CEO of EAT, who defines Aquaponics as “the combination of aquaculture (fish farming)  and hydroponics (the growing of plants and in the water.)”

He added: “The motto of this project is, ‘Aquaponics in the community, for the community and by the community’.”

The Ghana training is a part of the FFDC’s four-month (January-April) fishery project running on US$700, 000 provided by UNMIL.

Since its arrival in Liberia in 2003, UNMIL has restricted each of its nation-building operations on the platform of peace. 

Report by Samuel G. Dweh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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