Liberia has an abundance of renewable water sources providing yearlong water availability. It boasts 200 billion cubic meters of renewable internal water resources, compared to 77 billion in Côte d’Ivoire, 60 billion in Mali, 45 billion in South Africa, 30 billion in Ghana and just 21 billion in Kenya. Also, Liberia boasts an optimal water temperature for aquaculture (27 degrees). Liberia has the potential to produce at least 330,000 tons of inland fish; significantly more than the current production — which is all done at the smallholder level of just 2,500 tons.
The domestic market is unsaturated, particularly up-country where fish consumption per person is low due to limited access and the high cost of imported fi sh. As a result of limited availability, the average Liberian only consumes 5 kg per year compared to an ECOWAS average of 10kg per year, 30 kg per year in Sierra Leone and 20kg per year in Ghana. With investment in local production and distribution, consumption per person can easily quadruple. This provides a large, untapped business opportunity — particularly as there is currently no competition. It is a new, untapped market. There is great potential to also supply regions with limited access to the coast or with rapid population growth. Guinea, Mali and Nigeria all register consumption levels below the ECOWAS average, giving scope for export growth to these neighboring markets.
- 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 Roberts port (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 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’lvoire) 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 $4 to 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.
- Accessing Electricity
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’lvoire.