President Weah Hails Japan as He Launches Motorized Canoe Project for Fishermen
Buchanan, Grand Bassa County – The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, has launched Liberia’s biggest ever Motorized Canoe Project intended to reshape and strengthen the fishing industry and fortify Liberian fishermen.
The launch of the project preceded the symbolic turning over a few days ago of 550 Yamaha outboard motors—a grant from the Japanese Government.
Launching the project Saturday, October 23, 2021, in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, President Weah expressed delight over the launch of the Liberia Motorized Canoe Project, which includes the first consignment of 420 Yamaha outboard motors by the Liberia Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority on behalf of Liberian fishermen.
During President Weah’s nationwide tour, many fishing communities recounted constraints and complained that the lack of motorized canoes and other improved methods of finishing which they said was undermining their yields and keeping them subsistent. They appealed to the President for assistance.
With the launch of the project by the Liberian Chief Executive, the first of its kind in the country, it is expected that constraints of Liberian fishermen who rely on paddled canoes and other primitive methods of fishing will be eased.
The President told his audience at the project launch that the acquisition and distribution of the motorized canoes were in response to the many complaints that most fishermen did not have outboard motors, as compared to those of migrant fishermen.
“They told me that if they could be provided with outboard motors, they would be able to go further and faster at sea with more safety and less physical effort, and thereby bring in larger and more profitable catches,” the President recalled.
The Liberian Leader said he was also informed that motorizing Liberian fishermen’s canoes would enable fishermen to be more competitive and more profitable in a way that improves their standard of living.
“I assured them that Government was aware of their plight, and was already taking steps and making plans to address their situation. And I asked them to be patient while a solution was being worked out,” the President stated.
“And so, because I am a ‘talk-and-do’ President, we are here today with hundreds of outboard motors to enhance the fishing operations of Liberian fishermen and to make their canoes more effective.”
The President told the gathering that converting 550 paddle canoes to motorized operations will have a significant direct impact on the more than 4,000 Liberians involved in the coastal fishing industry.
He further asserted: “We are also told that the outboard motors will not be given directly to individual fishermen, but solely to fishing cooperatives and that by so doing, this will impact more than 100,000 different actors that depend on the fishery sector directly and indirectly, including fishermen, canoe owners, fish processors, fish sellers, and other fishing community residents.”
The launch of the Project, he maintained, is in line with the true meaning and objectives of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), which aims to improve the lives and livelihoods of Liberians, and lift them from poverty to prosperity.
The Liberian Chief Executive thanked the Government of Japan for its relentless support of Liberia’s development goals. He emphasized that the initiative is one of the benefits being accrued to Liberia as a result of his participation in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), in August 2019.
The President stated: “Once again, on behalf of the Government and People of Liberia, and in my name, I would like to sincerely thank the Government and People of Japan for their generosity, which is in direct support of our national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.”
President Weah also extolled the Liberia Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority for what he terms its successful execution of this very important project.
He urged the NaFAA management to ensure fair and efficient distribution of the Outboard Yamaha Motor Engines and also put in place an effective maintenance program, which will include training of mechanics and the availability of adequate spare parts.
Meanwhile, President Weah has reiterated his commitment to developing the country as part of his mission. He said Liberian people are true witnesses to the visible development projects he has undertaken since assuming office over three years ago.
The Liberian Leader assured the people of Bassa of his commitment to ensuring that every promise he made is fulfilled.
He called on Liberians to maintain the peace of the country because it’s the surest way development can be attained.