Monrovia – As part of efforts to enhance the agriculture sector and promote climate change in the country, the government of Liberia has received an adaptation grant of US$8.84 million from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to finance the Building Climate Resilience Project (BCRP) for 25,000 smallholder farmers in the country.
The project which is a pilot project that seeks to include 10,000 rice producers, 10,000 cocoa producers and 5,000 smallholder farmers from other enterprises of which at least 40 percent will be women and 40 percent young people.
The goal of the Building Climate Resilience Project is to improve the livelihoods and climate change resilience of rural farming households in Bong County.
The project will promote agriculture as a business to enhance incomes and reduce rural poverty in Bong County.
The project became effective for disbursement on September 19, 2019. The date for the completion is set for September 30, 2025 and the closing date is March 31, 2026, in line with the implementation period of the Tree Crops Extension Project Phase II (TCEP-II).
Speaking at the launch of the project at the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor last Thursday, the Executive Director Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Professor Wilson Tarpeh stressed the need for the government to focus on the agriculture sector.
According to him, change climate is affecting every sector but with a focus on agriculture, Liberia can benefit immensely from its rich forest.
“Agriculture is our hope; we need to focus on it. The sector is important and all of us need to support it and it (the agriculture sector) will do better. I want to say that the EPA will give it full support to the sector,” Mr Tarpeh said.
Also speaking, the Minister for Agriculture Jeanine Milly Cooper said Liberia’s contribution to the global action of climate change is huge.
“Liberia is a green country. We are capturing what the other countries are polluting but we are not getting value for the work we are doing –for what our country has,” Madam Cooper said.
The Building Climate Resilience Project, the Agriculture Minister says, is the start of the country benefiting from its value of contributing to the global action of climate change.
“This is a pilot project and it is just to open the door and if you look beyond that door there is a lot of financing for the kinds of things Liberia is really doing,” she said.
Madam Cooper said despite the country being new when it comes to climate financing, as a government, they are working to improve access to finance for farmers in the country.
“This adaptation project is the first of its kind but in 2022 you see a lot of different projects coming in as Liberia takes its place for the climate discourse. We want to be recognized for what we are doing, which is lowering the greenhouse gas emission,” Madam Cooper said.
Adding up, an executive of Fund for Agriculture Development Amath Pathe Sene said he is optimistic that most of the people in the rural areas will benefit from the program.
“Liberia like many others countries, is blessed. Agriculture is the backbone of this economy. This is why a year ago we joined hands to design this project,” Mr. Sene said.
He also stressed the need for more resources adding that it will help food security and nutrition for the body.
“We are and we believe that in the coming years we will have our track record -that Liberia is doing well. For us, we will support the government and contribute to the development of this country,” Mr Sene said.
Also, the Deputy Minister Finance Augustus Flomo said, “As we sit and reflect on the need for climate-resilience, it cannot be overlooked. Our farmers are in trouble. So, the programs we designed for our farmers are important. It will help our farmers to realize the work they do.”
According to the Deputy Finance Minister, the agriculture sector is the point of reliance, something he says helps to create jobs and economic growth.
“Sustaining our economic growth depends on agriculture. This government sees agriculture as a turnaround to ensure what we achieve in our development goal,” he said.