Liberia: EPA, Conservation International Confident of “FOLUR Project” Reducing Deforestation from Palm Oil and Cocoa Value Chains

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MONROVIA – Officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Conservation International with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have held a one-day workshop to set up a plan to reduce deforestation from palm oil and cocoa value chains.

The project, named and styled, the “Food Systems Land use and Restoration” (FOLUR) project will promote biodiversity conservation and a sustainable food system for enhanced livelihood opportunities in Liberia Landscape through land use planning, restoration of degraded lands, strengthening governance, policies, and market incentives for nationally replicable models of deforestation-free cocoa and palm oil value chains.

The project cost is over 74 million United States dollars. 7,139,449 from the GEF and the rest of the funding will be done by the co-financing institutions.

The co-financiers are the EPA, the Forestry Development Authority, Liberia Institute of Statistic and Geo-Information Services, the Liberia Land Rights Authority, the Ministry of and the Internal Affairs. Others are the MANO, the SCNL FFI, IDH and Conservation International.

The project was approved on September 27, 2021. It came into full implementation on May 1, 2022 and will end on April 30, 2027, after five years.

Speaking during the opening of the workshop the Deputy Director of the EPA Randall Dobayou praised the FOLUR Project adding that it will create jobs for many Liberians.

He added: “We are concerned about impact. The project will come and go but we need to see the impact that is our desire.”   

Nelson Jallah is FOLUR’s Project Manager. Presenting on the project implementation arrangements he told the gathering that the project will work with local, national governments, communities and smallholder farmers, and commercial agroforestry plantation operators to advance land use planning, sustainable commodity production, restoration of degraded land, and forest conservation.

The work with smallholders’ farmers he says will facilitate adoption of sustainable agroforestry methods for cocoa and palm oil production as well as the formation of cooperatives or associations to strengthen their participation in the supply chain.

He added: “You cannot do away with the youth group in this. One of the threats is the burning of charcoal. We will be working with the charcoal union.”

As project manager, Jallah, however, called on the national government to take full ownership of the FOLUR Project.

He furthers: “The government is the main driver behind this project. The Conservation International will leave but the government cannot leave. So, let them own the project.”

Jallah added: “We are going to work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs because the project will provide one resource center in the five counties and the Ministry of internal Affairs will locate the areas for the construction of the centers.”

Also speaking, the Manager Africa Conservation international GEF project agency Madam Charity Nalyanya promised that her organization on behalf of GEF will make the funding available for the project.

Madam Nalyanya added: “We are accountable to donors. Budget and Technical Financial Quarterly will also be part of the project. Also, sustainability is the key consideration of the project.”

Adding up the Technical Director of Conservation international Mr. George Ilebo disclosed that the project will help the country develop what he termed as climate change.

Mr. Ilebo added: “The project will develop a gender mainstream plan, Culture heritage management plan, and Stakeholders engagement and so on.” 

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