Liberia: Atlantic Cocoa Export & Processing Company Receives Organic Certificate Destination
MONROVIA – Liberia’s cocoa production sector has received a big boast, following the certification of a privately owned accredited and recognized local Agri company Atlantic Cocoa Export& Processing Company (ACPEC by KIWA BCS Garantie GmbH-f.
Making the disclosure Friday, Atlantic Cocoa Export & Processing Company Chief Executive Officer Clemenceau Wilfred Urey told newsmen in a press conference that the recognition places Liberia amongst a list of selected countries in the world trading in organic certified cocoa produced and sold on the world market.
This according to him is an opportunity for improvement in the cocoa sector, stressing that the leverage will share with the government and other Cocoa Farmers across the country.
“This means, there is a need for local farmers to produce more quality cocoa, so that they can benefit needed revenues,” Urey told newsmen.
All finances, according to him, was made available by his company, by borrowing money, even though according to him, the government should have shouldered the responsibility.
“We will work with all the exporters and other stakeholders who would like to work with us,” he said.
“In fact, in many instances, it is governments that undertakes such an effort as part of improving the enabling environments for farmers to improve their incomes and their lives,” Urey noted.
Before the certification, Urey said the record had only shown that neighboring Sierra Leone is the 5th largest exporter of organic certified cocoa in the West African region.
He hopes, that the certification would improve Liberia’s status on the world map, though it has placed the country’s image on the said platform for receiving such an advanced certificate.
He said while organic Cocoa is largely cultivated in Liberia because many farmers do not have the means to purchase inorganic fertilizers and pest control mechanicals; to achieve the organic certification is costly and requires a rigorous screening exercise of the established internal control systems and processes.
Nevertheless, Urey noted that his company decided to secure short-term commercial loans at a high-interest rate to undertake this exercise and in-process differentiate itself from the competition and brand its export of cocoa as organically certified.
Listing a few benefits of attaining such certification in Liberia, Urey averred; “benefits of organic certification, it give government credit, besides, this achievement is historic as this is the first time this has occurred in Liberia, and it occurred during the administration of President George Weah”.
Preparation to obtain organic certification entails training of farmers in good Agriculture practice and its post-harvest protocols for fermentation and drying, thus the quality of cocoa of the national reputation as a quality cocoa destination, Urey told newsmen.
“For farmer’s benefits, it improved quality that leads to improved price and there, improved income for farmers. Besides the trend in the demand for organic Cocoa is on the rise. organic certification, therefore as a form of branding, makes sense to surpass the competition,” he asserted.
In conclusion, Urey said the Atlantic Insurance company asserted has an important role to play as she has the main responsibility to create an enabling environment for the sector.
He added: “What the government puts in this sector is what it will get out. The government must do more. It cannot afford to rely on donors’ assistance to promote.