Liberia: President Weah Praises Ministry of Agriculture’s Leadership Under Minister Cooper
MONROVIA — President George Manneh Weah has heaped praises on authorities of Agriculture Ministry headed by Minister Jeanine Cooper for the level of achievements and progress made during 2021.
Making his 5th State of Nation Address to members of the 54th Liberian Legislature Monday at the Capitol Building, in Monrovia, President Weah said, “During my last address to this Honorable Legislature, I informed you that agricultural productivity would be a key priority of this Administration. The year in review saw several new beginnings and milestones for the agricultural sector. Private sector interest and investment in agriculture grew heavily, especially after the holding of the National Agriculture Fair in February, 2021,” Weah told the constitutional gathering.
President Weah added that the Fair highlighted Liberian agricultural productivity, while outlining the challenges faced by producers and agribusinesses, it also presented the abundant opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness.
“I can proudly report to you that the number of commercial farms and agribusinesses more than significantly increased from 77 in 2021 to 164 in 2022, while there are now dealerships of agricultural machinery, complete with spare parts and workshops,” Weah indicated.
The Liberian leader highlighted that this is a positive development for the efforts to mechanize Liberian farm production, and is a natural next step to the Government of Liberia’s own efforts through the Ministry of Agriculture, to provide tools, equipment, seeds, seedlings to farmers, farming communities and cooperatives and the interventions we made as a Government have led to increased acres planted in most crops, but especially so for basic foods like rice, cassava, oil palm and vegetables.
According to him, as the country moved into harvest season towards the end of the year, bumper crops are reaching rural and urban markets, due to improvements in the logistics and supportive infrastructure that the Agriculture Ministry had provided for agriculture.
He noted that dedicated warehouses for cocoa producers were constructed and/or rehabilitated in Nimba, Lofa and Bong counties; while processing plants for palm oil were built in Grand Bassa, Bong and Lofa counties. Rice processing plants in Lofa County were finalized in time to process the massive harvests coming in from expanded farms.
He disclosed that the Agriculture Ministry developed and negotiated and signed, key new projects valued at over $73 million US dollars, along with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. The World Bank’s Rural Economy Transformation Project, (RETRAP), which is meant to expand the ongoing Smallholder Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project, STAR-P, was developed for a total value of US$55 million.
The Chief maintained that the RETRAP project of the MoA will oversee the paving of the road from Tappita in Nimba County to Toe Town in Grand Gedeh County, completing a vital portion of the Ganta-Harper Highway that is already ongoing.
“This major piece of road construction will, by next year, see the paving of the road going into neighboring Côte d’Ivoire, and will facilitate the free movement of goods, passengers and services in the sub-region. In addition, the RETRAP will drive resources into the rubber, cassava, poultry and piggery sectors to complement other projects in rice, oil palm and vegetables,” he concluded.
These observations and highlights of the MoA’s achievements by President Weah, illustrate the elevation of the Ministry as a key conduit for developmental aid for Liberia, under the leadership of President Weah