MONROVIA – Deputy House Speaker, J. Fonati Koffa, has urged the international community, specifically the world bank, to continue to invest in Liberia’s fishery sector.
The Grand Kru lawmaker said while it is true that the World Bank and partners have invested hugely in Liberia’s development, it is also advisable that investors be encouraged to industrialize the fisheries sector of Liberia.
By: Edwin Genoway, Jr. [email protected]
The Deputy Speaker, J Fonati Koffa spoke when he served as keynote speaker at the program marking the launch of the Department of Fisheries Science on the campuses of the University of Liberia.
The University of Liberia in collaboration with the National Fishery Aquaculture and Authority (Nafaa) on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, launched the Department of Fisheries Science (DoFas) at the University of Liberia.
Addressing a cross-section of guests at the program, Koffa said he’s worried if the fishery sector will be industrialized for the procession of Liberia’s own fish.
He wants investors to invest in the sector to industrialize the sector.
He said he doesn’t want the Liberian Fisheries sector to be like the Firestone Rubber Company, that has not produced a single tyre in Liberia.
“The Fisheries sector shouldn’t be like Firestone which has not a single tyre factory in Liberia, if the fisheries sector will be successful, let the international community bring in investors that will invest and transform this sector to make it industrialized.
Koffa said the Fisheries Sector is a very important component of Liberia’s economy, adding, “The launching and introduction of the new programs at the University of Liberia will give the needed results in the coming years.”
He noted that the development of Liberia also lies in the fisheries sector. The program’s launching or introduction will help students entering the College of Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.
“There is no doubt that this program will have a great impact in the fisheries sector of Liberia. Liberia is moving forward with this program and will be fully supported by national government”.
He added that the challenges in this sector are many, but with the help of the international community and national government “We will overcome all of these, including the sustainable and the livelihood of those who are involved in the sectors, is also important.”
Koffa said human capacity is one of the major components in development of the fisheries sectors of Liberia.
“What we are doing here today to develop the mind of the youthful population who sees this sector as a way of making life?”
He added that food security is a major concern of any nation and Liberia being a country is no exception to the many challenges that other countries face.
Giving an overview of the Fisheries Science Program during the grand official launch Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at the main campus of the University of Liberia, the Director of NaFAA, Emma Glassco, mentioned that the overall goal of the program is to build the needed human resource capacity that will support the Liberian government in achieving its sustainable development objectives of national food and nutrition security, resource conservation, and sustainable management of fisheries resource of Liberia, marine and inland ecosystems to provide long-term goods and services to the communities.
“It is anticipated that the program will start its first semester in academic year 2023/2024 and we look forward to the 2027 Graduating Class, the inaugural”
Madam Glassco said the program is expected to provide students with an opportunity to obtain an undergraduate degree in fisheries and aquaculture science and is also designed to prepare fisheries professionals with competencies and acquiring practical skills in fisheries and aquaculture as well as fish processing and marketing issues.
Speaking further on the fisheries science program Madam Glassco stated that NaFAA in collaboration with the UL administration has also agreed that in order to provide short-termed hands-on technical training, research, and scientific interventions in addressing the gaps in the sector, they have established a Regional Centre of Excellence for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Liberia.
She said the Center of Excellence will be very key in supporting the transition of the Liberia fisheries sector to semi and large scale industrialization through capacity development, institutional strengthening, innovation, research, extension service, quality assurance, among others. Additionally, it is envisaged that the immediate focus of the Center will be providing technical, capacity development, and knowledge support for the efforts that is aimed at industrializing the fishery sector in Liberia and beyond.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are excited today for reaching this far. It did require a lot of time, efforts, lobbying, research and resources. We want to appreciate the cooperation of the Leadership of the University of Liberia and encourage them to remain focused in ensuring that this program is effective and successful”.
It can be recalled in March 2022 the university administration in partnership with NAFAA signed a memorandum of understanding to commence a Bachelor of Science degree program in Fisheries management as well as Diploma and technical training program for certificate courses to afford Liberians an opportunity to harness the potential that the Liberian fisheries sector presents.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Fisheries Expert has disclosed that while NaFAA and the UL administration were in the planning and budgeting stages of the Fisheries Science program, it was established that there is a need for additional funding to support faculty capacity development as well as attracting professionals from around the World to provide teaching services.