Adding value: Local fish farmer volunteers to mentor needy colleagues
Fish farming has a lot of potential to improve livings, generate incomes, and create jobs along its production line. Despite these benefits, few farmers are involved in aquaculture, mainly because of poor extension program for fish farming, lack of feed stores, and the concept of fish farming for business is something that is new in Liberia.
However, a local fish farmer has initiated a “farmer to farmer” mentorship program to increase aquaculture activities across the country
Divine Anderson, owner of the Garden Fish Farm situated in [Kaibah] outside the Barnesville Estate recently started a fish farming mentorship program for needy fish farmers across the country.
Speaking to AgriGrind, Anderson says he made the decision after an interesting encounter with another small-scale fish farmer from Bong Mines in Fuamah District, Bong County.
“I was surprised when I met a lady who came from Bong County to buy fingerlings from me, here in Monrovia. The thing is, before Bong Mines there is Kakata where at least a handful fish farmers are but she continued her journey to Monrovia because there were no fingerlings in Kakata.
“In as much, it was a good business day for me, as a country, it is bad to have a person doing such a business. One person cannot do it all. It makes no sense to have people coming from as far as Bong County just to get fingerlings from Monrovia. If we train people especially the new technology-driven methods which I have adopted, the industry will grow,” says Anderson.
Anderson who has self-taught himself some technology-driven methods in aquaculture and aquaponics attributes selfishness to the slow growth of the country’s aquaculture industry. However, he says that the industry can do well if people stop depriving others of needy knowledge.
“The biggest challenge we have in the aquaculture industry is knowledge,” says Anderson. “Unfortunately Liberia is a country where people want to sit on a thing [possess an idea] until they die. If we have the right kind of knowledge, a lot of fish farmers will do it right and they will grow.”
Through his voluntary program, he has reached struggling fish farmers from near cities, including Paynesville, Brewerville, Kakata, and Marshall. Additionally, the entrepreneur is helping high schools run an aquaculture program.
Anderson shares knowledge on hatchery development and management, tank pond development, fish tank plumbing, pond management, feed production and management, and water management.
The entrepreneur started his journey in 2016 when fingerlings, feed, and other fish farming equipment were scarce but he improvised feed and equipment to make his dream a reality.
He started with a single plastic tank but has since increased his farm production capacity to more than 35,000 fish. The trendsetter is the first but the only farm that is producing commercial fish feed for small-scale fish farmers.
Anderson farm boasts of being the largest artificial hatchery in Liberia. His farm produces 120,000 fingerlings per week. Also, the farm has adopted aquaponics technology, another farming system that is very new to Liberia.
“I have found the key and I have experimented it. I cannot keep it to myself because knowledge is needed in our industry. I don’t have to be a politician before I make a change. If every Liberian knows that what they do, matters, they will mentor people; it doesn’t have to be aquaculture,” says Anderson.