‘See Agriculture as Backbone to Country’s Economy Recovery’ Ron Strikker, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone

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Monrovia – Ron Strikker, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, says Liberia’s economy can be recovered if Agriculture is seen as a backbone.

Amb. Strikker spoke at the launch of Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Program (CORIP) and the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Program (SWAPP) in Liberia.

SWAPP project is to be implemented in five of the 15 counties in Liberia, including Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Bomi and Grand Bassa.

“We hope to see the good results and Liberians will see agriculture as a backbone of recovering the economy and prosperity in Liberia,” Strikker said.

According to the Dutch diplomat, both programs target Liberia because Ghana and Sierra Leone have shown a better result.

Amb. Strikker further said that Liberia will have a new approach to ensure its implementation.

The program was held under the theme “Increasing Agricultural Productivity through Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Boima Bafaie, Solidaridad Liberia Cocoa manager said the strategy is centered on the large scale adoption of sustainable cocoa production.

He said the key towards large scale adoption of sustainable cocoa production’s intensification is to improve access to recommend inputs, including planting material, fertilizer, crop protection, extension and financial services.

CORIP is centered on four thematic areas: access to finance, policy and institutional capacity strengthening women, youth inclusion and resilient cocoa product systems.

CORIP is implemented in Bong, Lofa and Nimba.

SWAPP 2017-2020 is centered on the large-scale adoption of sustainable intensification of oil palm cultivation and fresh fruit bunches processing in the West African SME sector through private sector participation.

J. Cyrus Saygbe, Solidaridad Oil Palm manager, says SWAPP implementation is aimed at scaling up sustainable intensification.

SWAPP program will achieve its goal by facilitating access to finance for the establishment and operations of small and medium enterprises to provide farm management services and promote investments in efficient palm oil processing.

The project components is expected to allow beneficiaries demonstrate best management practices at farm mill and mill levels, facilitate access to finance, strengthen multi-stakeholder platform to influence police and mitigate social and environmental impact.

Isaac Gyamfi, Solidaridad Regional Director, West Africa, said there is a need to structure seedling prices for farmers to pay adding that farmers need skills to change their mindset through capacity building.

He recommended that the project should create approaches that will allow farmers to pay.

Dr. Mogana Flomo, Minister of Agriculture, stated the two projects are intended to improve the agricultural sector.

“These two areas are priorities in the Liberia Agricultural investment plan. There are priorities crops and cocoa and oil palm are two of the crops included,” he said.

Dr. Flomo promised that the government is ready to give all the necessary support ensuring that the farmers get the services.

He further said farmers should see agriculture as a business and not charity.

“We want the farmers to see agriculture as a business and not a charity that they can work and provide services to their communities and the country.”

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