LIBERIA – Liberia is soon set to start operating its state-of-the-art fisheries competent laboratory for post-harvest and quality assurance that will enable the country to export fish produce to international markets.
The Director-General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), Mrs. Emma Metieh Glassco disclosed that the laboratory equipment had arrived in Monrovia from Iceland.
Mrs Glassco assured that the sophisticated equipment will be installed, managed and operated for couple of months by Icelandic consultants (after the COVID 19 pandemic subsides) recruited for the purpose of this project.
She noted that the Icelandic government has also provided six months training for laboratory technicians to help operate the laboratory after the testing and trials period.
Mrs. Glassco pointed out that Liberia is a coastal state with the second longest coastline in the sub-region next to Nigeria.
“Although Liberia is very rich in high value commercial quantities of both demersal and pelagic fish stocks, the country has lost its exporting powers to international fish markets due to the failure to set up a competent laboratory for the purpose of testing and certification of fish products. As a result, there is a huge revenue leakage.”
Mrs. Glassco mentioned that NaFAA has also demonstrated its willingness to adopt ISO (International Standards Organization) protocols, which will be laid out in its updated 2020 regulations.
NaFAA has also ratified international treaties such as the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), an FAO legal instrument in an effort to get the required accreditation either from USA, EU, UK among others for export.
Once the lab is accredited, fishery products for export from Liberia will not need to be routed through second member countries such as Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
The Fisheries Competent Laboratory will be jointly operated by NaFAA and the Liberia National Standard Laboratory, for the purpose of uniformity and coherence of national protocols.