Top: Boats prepare for a competition in Robertsport to mark the 50th anniversary of Liberia’s relationship with the European Union. The DayLight/Esau Farr
By Esau J. Farr
The European Union (EU) has said it would continue to invest in Liberia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors both the bloc and the country celebrate 50 years of relations.
“We continue to stand ready to support Liberia’s priorities for sustainable and inclusive development, peace and security and a world where there is peace and security,” said Nona Deprez, the head of the EU Delegation in Liberia at an anniversary event in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County recently.
“The European Union is looking forward to working with the government of Liberia in all efforts to resolve its full implementation to increase trade between our regions, ECOWAS and the EU, particularly in agriculture, fisheries and forestry products,” Deprez told the anniversary audience.
The EU’s relations with Liberia go as far back as 1973. During this period, the EU has invested millions in Liberia’s agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.
The sectors are crucial to Liberia’s economy but have been poorly managed over the years.
“You need to develop the economy so, you need to make sure that when you develop economically, you don’t have to deplete your resources. If you deplete your resources, that means development will not be sustainable,” Deprez added.
Martus Bangalu, the deputy national authorizing officer of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, said the support of the EU to the fisheries sector of the country must be laudable by all. She urged the leadership and members of the fishing communities in Grand Cape Mount to hold together for progress and development.
“The Fisheries sector has huge potential that we must all top into. Despite of the numerous projects the EU has in Liberia, [it] chose to celebrate with the fisheries sector today; that shows how important this sector is,” Madam Bangalu told members of the fishing communities there.
Lake Piso in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, was chosen as the venue for the anniversary celebrations of the EU-Liberia partnership in collaboration with the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and the fishing communities. Started in 2019, EJF is rolling out the implementation of a four-year fisheries project in Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Grand Kru, sponsored by the EU.
“We are working with the government of Liberia to ensure that its developmental agenda is achieved,” said Cephas Asare, EJF’s West Africa regional manager in an interview with The DayLight.
“The collaborative management association is meant to bring the participation of resource users and the community to engage and to support the fishery management that the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) is supposed to do,” Asare added.
The celebrations ended with a boat race amongst the three regions of the fishing communities in the western Liberian county. Robertsport’s Kru-Town won the race.