Cocoa stakeholders Hold Strategic Conference on The Sector; Brainstorms Exporting Quality Cocoa from Liberia
Monrovia – Stakeholders of Liberia’s Cocoa sector have concluded a day-long annual season Kickoff Conference to symbolically commence this year’s cocoa season.
The conference was in two phases: a first phase focused on the National Cocoa Sector Public-Private Platform (NC3P) Steering Committee Meeting which brought together key players from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA), and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MoFDP).
The conference also had in attendance six other organizations designated from the private sector, producer organization and CSOs/ NGOs. The selected representatives participated in the steering committee meeting to review the goals of the National Cocoa Sector Public-Private Platform (NC3P) and provide a mandate for activities of the cocoa sector platform for the next six months.
Mr. John S. Flomo, Director General of LACRA told FrontPageAfrica in an interview that with support from the government, the organization is working to ensure that efforts are being put in place to boost export of quality cocoa on the world market the quality of cocoa from Liberia on the world market is low. “We also want to ensure that LACRA effectively regulate the cocoa sector. We also want to ensure that the market is regulated. Lot of the businesses are only interested in how much they can make and mot how much support they can give farmers and that is something hindering the development of the sector. Not much support is given to the sector”, he said.
Mr. Flomo also stressed the need for more support to be given farmers because farmer are complaining that not much support is being given to them. “To be a business that would be given a license to export, you have to assure us that you will support farmers and have a quality warehouse. Most of our cocoa lose value after they are harvested.”
The Liberian National Cocoa Sector Public-Private Platform, also known as the NC3P, is a
public-private platform that has played a significant role in the visioning, coordination, and facilitation of some key interventions within the cocoa sector.
The vision statement of the platform is “towards a sustainable cocoa sector that enhances smallholder farmers, agripreneurs and protects the forests of Liberia”
The platform was established in 2019, as part of result 3 the Liberian Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme1 (LISCIP), which is a four-year initiative funded by the European Union and implemented by Solidaridad West Africa and partners. Over the past year, the platform has made significant headways, notably with capacity-building initiatives, such as: facilitating recommendations on issues related to cocoa regulations and proposed legislations; facilitating of group discussions/ networking among stakeholders, and co-facilitating the attendance of platform stakeholder in international cocoa sector related events.
To enable these achievements, the platform initiated a governance structure comprised of a General Assembly, a Steering Committee, a Secretariat (led by IDH Liberia), and several technical committees. This structure has laid the ground for future work such as the finalization of the Liberia Cocoa Sector Roadmap and other programs thereafter.
The advent of the COVID 19 pandemic and the declaration by the Government of Liberia of a state of emergency (that led to movement restrictions, social distancing requirement, etc) in early April 2020, the platform’s work was seriously impacted.