Ex-VP Boakai Rallies Liberians to Engage in Agriculture Productivity for Economic Growth
Caldwell, Montserrado – Former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai said investment in agriculture is the best way to boost Liberia’s struggling economy.
According to Ex- VP Boakai, agriculture is the lifeblood of every economy, especially developing country like Liberia.
He made the assertions on Saturday, July 20 at the event marking the first harvest exercise of the Boakai Massaquoi Agriculture Inc, owner of a 30-acres of lowland rice farm in Caldwell.
He lauded the Chief Executive Officer of the farm, Boakai Massaquoi for the investment despite the huge challenges associated with such production.
Said Ambassador Boakai: “Agriculture is the lifeblood of every economy, especially in developing country and Liberia in particular. We import US$200 million dollars of rice in this country every year. We shouldn’t be doing that. Today we are happy to be here with someone who has taken the bold step to produce food. To do agriculture is not easy. It’s expensive, time-consuming and takes technology. It takes a lot of courage and sometimes those who involved in it get very little in return.”
Speaking further, he pledged his foundation’s commitment to provide technical and material support.
“We are to make a commitment to work with you. We are going to send you someone who is very knowledgeable in agriculture, in rice production, to help. I think this an effort that all of us can be a part of. We want to thank the government and the community for the effort and interest. We want to applaud you [CEO] for the great effort,” he said.
Also speaking, the Assistant Agriculture Minister for Research and Extension Services, Alvin Wisseh explained that the Government of Liberia through its Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) prioritizes agriculture and is doing all to boost the sector for economic growth.
Mr. Wisseh, on behalf of the Acting Minister of Agriculture, pledged the Ministry of Agriculture’s unflinching support to the management of the Boakai Massaquoi Agriculture Inc.
He revealed that currently the Ministry of Agriculture is distributing implements to local farmers in five counties including Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties and called on Liberians to engage in agricultural productivity.
Said Mr. Wisseh: “We preside over the department of regional development, research and extension, and we can assure you of our support. We have our technicians and crop pathologists. We can bring them to you so that they will aid you in addressing some of the things that are serving as bottleneck in enhancing productivity.”
Meanwhile the CEO of the farm, the Boakai Massaquoi noted that despite challenges associated with production, the farm is making significant strides.
Mr. Massaquoi named the cultivation of 30 hectares of lowland rice, 2.5 hectares of cassava, three acres of cucumber and piggery as some of the achievements of the farm since it was established about nine months ago.
He named the lack of external, technical and logistical support as some of the challenges scaling back production.
He called for financial support including government’s subsidy, loan and grants from financial institutions, international partners and private citizens.
He further that the farm has provided job opportunity for over 4,000 workers at different stages of production and planned to increase the number of workers.
The goal for the next two year, he stated, is to cultivate at least 60 hectares of lowland rice to be able to produce 210 metric tons of rice and 20 metric tons of cassava on a 2.5 hectares of land.