Liberia’s coastline and continental shelf offers 20,000 sq km of fishing ground. Only around 8,000 tons of marine fish is currently produced per year. Yet Liberia consumes 23,800 tons, meaning there is a large potential to increase production. The Government is investing in fish landing, storage and processing infrastructure and is streamlining investment regulations in the sector. With the impending completion of large energy infrastructure projects, it will be soon cheaper to process fish in Liberia than in Nigeria, Senegal or Cote D’Ivoire. In addition, with the completion of major road projects, such as the road from Monrovia to Nimba on the Guinean border, there is the potential to supply fish to the water-scarce areas of West Africa, such as eastern Guinea.
There is potential for three types of investors
There is a market potential for three types of investors in marine fisheries in Liberia: Take on management contracts for: Fish landing facilities currently being constructed by the government in Robertsport (completion by end of2016) Mesurado Fishing Pier at the Freeport of Monrovia, which is being rehabilitated (completion of Phase I by early 2017) Processing of shallow and mid-water fish for the local and regional market.
There is a large market opportunity
There is a large unsaturated demand for fish in dry parts of the Sahel. These can be accessed through Liberia’s connection to Guinea. Fish products produced in Liberia have unrestricted duty-free access to all ECOWAS countries. There are niche market opportunities in high-value fish such as fair trade tuna, barracuda and cassava fish for which AGOA (US) and everything but Arms (EU) provides easy market access.
Liberia’s labor costs are low
Liberia has the lowest labor rates (half the cost of labor in Nigeria and 30% the cost of labor in Cote d’Ivoire) and low fuel costs (diesel costs $0.96 per liter) which more than compensate higher electricity costs. The cost of unskilled labor in Liberia is only $5.00 per day.
Where to source your fish for processing
There are 37,000 Liberians engaged in artisanal fishing and 114 fishing communities, together with 12 marine fish cooperatives registered and supported by the Cooperatives Development Authority. Average fish cooperative income is US$66,700 per year.
The Government of Liberia is currently investing in fish landing and cold storage infrastructure and facilities to be operated by the private sector in Robertsport and Monrovia. It will thereafter develop similar infrastructure in other fishing hubs along the coast.
Liberian electricity supply is set to increase significantly over the next year. Once Liberia completes rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee hydro power station and construction of additional Heavy Fuel Oil electricity supply, it will have competitive operating costs for fish processing, compared with Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.