Grand Bassa County - Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) and the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Agriculture are collaborating and leading efforts to help with the rehabilitation of oil palm smallholder farms in District #4, Grand Bassa County.
The rehabilitation program which is being funded by the World Bank, is a pilot study undertaken to revitalize the smallholder oil palm farmers and provide necessary information required for the future replanting of these identified farms to promote an Out Growers Program under the Smallholder Tree Crops Revitalization Support Project (STCRSP). The immediate goal of the project is to provide support for the rehabilitation of existing oil palm farms around the concession who have registered with the program and are in the recently established farmers’ cooperative. Equatorial Palm Oil is providing technical and supervisory support for a successful implementation of this current rehabilitation project. The Ministry of Agriculture is leading the implementation, monitoring and evaluation component of the project. During a joint contract signing ceremony on Thursday 9th June 2016 at EPO’s Plantation Office in District #4, Grand Bassa County with the Extension Officers, the Program Coordinator of the Small Holders program Mr. Nyada Yoba Baldeh caution his team about meeting crucial timelines and making use of the opportunity at hand. He told the two newly hired extension officers for the program to take their new jobs seriously. “I cannot over emphasize how important this program is to this county. You must remember you are the ambassadors for this program;” Baldeh said in a strong voice. Baldeh lauded EPO for taking full charge of the project. He said the action of EPO has given assurance to the World Bank and its partners that the ongoing project will be successful. Said Baldeh: “It is our hope that this project will help lift farmers. I also need to thank EPO for taking full charge of the project; this has given assurance to the Bank and its partners that the project will be a resounding success.” EPO representative Mr. Jasvinder Singh told the stakeholders at the signing ceremony that his company remains committed to the project. Providing two motorcycles and an office to the extension officers Jasvinder asserted that the company was prepared to see a successful implementation of the project. H e stressed to the project extension officers the importance of commitment and dedication in achieving results in project implementation. For her part, the Agriculture coordinator of Grand Bassa County Joyce Kolvah who presented two computers, printers and a host of other office equipment on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture said her team will ensure a rigorous monitoring of the implementation of the project. Joyce told the team that Grand Bassa was fortunate to form part of the first phase of revitalization of the smallholders in Liberia. Joyce told this paper that though she is a female, agriculture was her passion. She vowed to visit all the farmers on a routine basis- adding: “We cannot afford to let this golden opportunity pass us, when there is so much we can put into it to obtain result.” EPO Country Head Mr. Sashi Nambiar stated that the project fits in facilitating rural development, increasing incomes and contributing to poverty reduction. He urges all stakeholders to work together to ensure this project is a success.