In the wake of International Community support to Liberia’s agriculture sector, a Liberian agronomist, Emmanuel Vah, has disclosed that Cocoa has a great potential to revive and greatly boost Liberia’s revenue envelope.
The International partners, he told reporters are ready and willing to support the Government through the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) mainly in the sector.
According to him, the Ministry of Agriculture places as key the development of the sector and is working hard to give back the lost dignity to Liberian farmers.
Farmers should not be looking like the way they currently appear unlike other Countries, moreover, it is time that income generation of local farmers be improved and increased, he further lamented.
“The USD fluctuates because of the lack of foreign exchange base but now is the time to change that especially through the revitalization of the Cocoa sector of Liberia”, Mr. Vah added.
As part of efforts to help rapidly move the sector to where it used to be, Mr. Vah stressed that under the Tree Crops Extension Project at the Ministry of Agriculture, they have embarked upon a phase one and two component of the project in Nimba and Lofa Counties.
“We are as part of the project rehabilitating and replanting Cocoa in Nimba and Lofa and at the same time establishing a National seed board”, he noted.
With graciousness to the people of Nimba who provided 30.4 hectares of land for such exercise, we are now using 20.4 hectares to ensure we develop the project and subsequently help in making available seeds to the fifteen Counties of Liberia, the Project Coordinator pointed out.
He said when that is done, it will stop Liberian farmers from going to other Countries for seeding which in itself will not be the best because they will not want you (Liberian Framers) to be in equal competition with them.
“Let’s help drive the economy together, through the sector, Mr. Vah encourages”, stakeholders in the sector.
The Tree Crop extension project boss said, plans are also underway to form a partnership with the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA) to ensure that regulation, quality control and pricing as well as certification process in the sector can be properly worked on.
There is also a plan he indicated in the making to have a seed board to help the process as it is done in other Countries.
It can be recalled before the war, Cocoa was a major contributor to Liberia’s revenue envelope especially to the gross domestic product, unlike now.
“All the United States dollars that were in the Country at the time was as a result of tree crops to include: Cocoa, Coffee, Oil Palm and Rubber until the war came and destroyed the sector, damaged the production and infrastructures among others but it can get better and well improve now, with the new energy of the Agriculture Ministry and the farmers to see it roll out practically through Cocoa farming and many others”, Vah asserted.
Speaking not as an Agriculture Ministry employee rather one who has the passion for the sector and wants it to get on par with its counterparts, Mr. Vah said, he is of the strongest conviction that the economy of the Country depends on the sector to ensure it drives it forward especially with the focus on tree crops namely: Cocoa, Coffee, Oil Palm, Rubber and many others.