Monrovia, Liberia (PANA) – Liberia is no doubt readying itself to join other nations that are exporting fish and fish products to the European Union (EU) market.
Firstly, the country’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) and the Ministry of Commerce have signed a Technical Cooperation agreement with the Ghana Standard Authority as “a temporary arrangement” to certificate and test Liberian fish and fish products only, for export to the European Union (EU) market.
But in the wake of this accord, Liberia has sent two technicians from its Commerce Ministry to Brussels to undergo training for the REX Program (Register of Exporters) to enable the West African nation maintain and implement the REX program in-country.
The training exercise is among set criteria prior to the commencement of direct export of fish and fish products from Liberia to the EU market.
According to a NaFAA media statement, prior to the arrangements, the Legislature Parliament signed unto the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific States (EU/ACP); the framework for implementing the REX program that allows export to EU market on a set tariff basis.
And, if this goes well, it would be the first time that Liberian fish and fish products will be exported to the EU market under this program and could as well be the gateway for other Liberian products to enter the EU market.
The fishing industry in Liberia is basically artisanal, with locals using paddle wooden dug-out boats, a number bearing engines, to ply their trade across the vast terrain of the Atlantic Ocean that provides literally low income from beachside sale of their catch and post-harvest losses.
With the rainy season covering half of the year in Liberia, this subsistence form of fishing has not helped address unemployment in this war ravished nation nor tackle the economic woes that betide this tiny nation of 4.5 million inhabitants.
Meanwhile, the country has at best granted fishing licenses to foreign trawlers the practically get the best marine products for sale on more lucrative markets.
But this has not escaped the pity of ‘friendly’ nations and multilateral institutions who have been undertaking interventions such building cold storages, donating engines and providing trainings for capacity building.
Many Liberians will see this as ‘good news’ until they find out what’s in the package for the national coffers to help salvage the George Weh-led government that is choked by economic and financial constraints.
-0- PANA PTK/VAO 26Nov2019