FAO in Liberia

Government of Japan through FAO to support integrated rice system development and Port State Measures in Liberia

11/04/2019

Monrovia- The Government of Liberia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with financial support from the Government of Japan have signed two projects value at US$750,000.

The signing ceremony which took place at the Ministry of Agriculture brought together senior officials of government, representative from the Government of Japan and the media. The ceremony was jointly held by the Ministries of Agriculture, Internal Affairs, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) in collaboration with FAO.

FAO Representative in Liberia Madam Mariatou Njie thanked the Government and people of Japan for entrusting its resources through FAO to execute two major projects that will improve the fishery sector and enhance production and productivity of rice.

She disclosed that rice is one of the major staple foods in Liberia for food security with annual per capita consumption of 53 kilograms. “The country imports over 90% of its rice needs at the cost of about $80 million a year.  In 2018, rice represented 37.8% (Central Bank of Liberia report, 2018) of the total imports of food and live animals. Liberia population growth currently at 2.5% per annum has led the country to experience increase in demand for rice”.

Madam Njie further noted that this increase coupled with low production and productivity has led to deficit of rice supply in the country as depicted by the huge variance between the importation and local production. Moreover, the FAO Representative added that Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems due to its potential ability to undermine national and regional efforts to manage fisheries sustainability as well as endeavor to conserve marine biodiversity.

For his part, the Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Tsutomu HIMENO informed the audience that rice and fish remain important sectors that the Governments of Liberia and Japan can invest in to create job opportunities and improve the lives of Liberians.

He accentuated that the Government of Japan is deeply concern about the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing that are causing major economic effect to countries. “It is timely that Japan through FAO can contribute to the government of Liberia efforts to improve these sectors that will empower more Liberians.

According to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo developing the agriculture sector for job creation has been the core of President George Manneh Weah’s messages. “The President has declared agriculture as a priority to drive the Liberian 

economy. He observed that agriculture investment is one of the easier ways to create job and improve the economy”, Dr. Flomo concluded.

In remarks, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Deputy Director for Technical Services at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority acknowledged the longstanding partnership between the Government of Liberia, Japan and FAO. They pledged to work collectively to make the programme a succes

 

About the projects

The first project “Integrated sustainable rice system development” involves a total investment of US$500,000 and targets 1000 direct beneficiaries. This project seeks to enhance the productive capacity of smallholder farmers to sustainably increase productivity of rice and  increase their incomes. It is also expected to strengthen the underdeveloped value chain of rice in two of the bread basket counties; Lofa and Bong. The proposed project is expected to construct two post-harvest facilities which will include post-harvest technologies (rice mills, destoner, threshers, storage and drying slides). Farmers’ access to markets will be improved.

The other project “Support to implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries for sustainable Fisheries and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea” valued at US$250,000 will support to implementation of  the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (the SSF Guidelines) and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea’’.

The goal is to improve sustainability of marine fisheries by preventing, deterring and eliminating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. It includes capacity development for the Government, Fishery Workers, Private sector, CSOs, etc. The ‘’Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication’’, also known as the ‘’SSF Guidelines’’ were endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in 2014. They provide the first dedicated international instrument that deals specifically with small-scale fisheries. Furthermore, the SSF Guidelines are also the first negotiated instrument that fully explores the social and economic aspects of fisheries governance