Monrovia – A group of farmers under the banner, the National Farmer Cooperative of Tarlesson Farms Incorporated have launched an appeal to the government including President George Weah and the Ministry of Agriculture to intervene and free their container from the Freeport of Monrovia.
The farmers made the appeal through its spokesperson, Moses F. C. Diggs when he paid a visit to FrontPage Africa on Monday for a live interview.
According to Mr. Diggs, the 40-ft container which contains huge materials including clothing, beddings, mattresses and other items to enhance their agricultural activities, arrived at the port since November 2020 but because of delay in clearing, the fees has increased to about US$6,000, something they are not able to afford.
“We are not able to pay that huge amount of money. We are just poor farmers from across the country and were given this assistance by our friend in the United States,” Diggs lamented.
According to him, the container was sent to the farmers from across the 15 counties of Liberia by a Liberian residing in the United States, Roosevelt Tarlesson. Following its arrival, Diggs explained that the farmers were able to collect US$1,100 and gave it to a liaison who promised to process the clearance of the container. But since then, the container has not been cleared and the fees now has skyrocketed to a whooping US$6,000.
The situation, he noted, is causing hardship for the farmers who came from across the country to get the container. While they engage the liaison who has failed to clear the container, the farmers are worried that the fees continues to skyrocket, and it was against this background they are making the SOS call.
“As we get behind the liaison and broker to get our money back, we call on the President and his ministers, NGOs and humanitarians to help us get the container. Because as the day goes by, the money continues to climb. We are farmers and should be on our farms working but here we are walking up and down in Monrovia. We need help.”
The farmers’ appeal comes in the wake of APM Terminal’s fresh increment of all service fees at the Freeport of Monrovia. Recently, the company announced a 9.67 percent increment on all current charges of its services at the port. With the increase, fees for clearing a 20-foot container is now US$207, up from US$189.
There has been a plethora of calls from importers and local businesses for the President’s intervention. The House of Representatives has mandated its specialized committee investigating APM Terminals’ operations in Liberia to submit reports of its findings, which include a comparative analysis of the company’s operations in Liberia and the Republic of Ghana.