Liberia: Sen. Tokpa Wants Agricultural Equipment Mechanics

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Monrovia – Senator Henrique Tokpa has proposed a legislation that will repeal the act creating the Tumutu Vocational Training Institute to establish in lieu the Tumutu Agriculture and Technical College and grant it a charter.

According to the Bong County Senator, Liberia can develop from the current predicament of economic depreciation if it prioritizes agriculture. 

Speaking to reporters at his Capitol Building office, Tokpa said, there must be a need for the establishment of an agriculture institution where Liberians can be trained not only in the area of food production but as experts in agriculture technology, which will help the nation grows from the usual way of subsistence farming and adopt mechanized farming.

“Knowing the need for human resource development in Lower Bong County and surrounding counties, I thought that it was necessary for us to establish one,” Sen. Tokpa told reporters.

The Senator’s press conference came a day after he had submitted a bill to the Senate to repeal the Act creating the Tumutu Vocational Training Institute and to establish the Tumutu Agriculture and Technical College (TATC).

According to Sen. Tokpa’s bill, the college will grant Associate of Arts (AA) degrees in agriculture, health, and natural sciences, education, engineering, business, and information communication technology (ICT).

“The College, when granted charter status, will also promote and maintain centers of learning where people of all races, classes, faiths, gender and ethnic backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunity of college education,” the Senator said.

Senator Tokpa said that the need for trained agriculture professionals to ensure Liberia’s self-sufficiency in agricultural production cannot be overemphasized.

The institution, according to Senator Tokpa, will provide training for those desirous of obtaining degrees in agriculture, post-harvest technology, and nutrition.

“Distinguished colleagues, with reference to the 2008 National Housing and Population Census, and coupled with the lack of degrees granting institution, especially in agriculture, it is absolutely necessary to elevate the Tumutu Vocational Training Institute to Tumutu Agriculture and Technical College to address the needs for education and training in agriculture and the huge population of Lower Bong County and surrounding counties,” Senator Tokpa’s communication said.

According to Dr. Tokpa, repealing the Tumutu Vocational Training Institute act will also promote and maintain centers of learning where people of all races, classes, and faiths, gender, and ethnic backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunity of a college education.

Furthermore, the institution will provide training for those obtaining degrees in agriculture from the planting of corps to include, agriculture mechanics, post-harvest technology, nutrition.  

“There is a need for trained agriculture specialists who would not only plant and harvest because there is more to agriculture than planting and harvesting. The only way Liberia can develop from this economy constraints is through agriculture; we cannot continue to depend on the extractive industry. Our international partners are prepared to invest hugely in agriculture and I believe we do not have the capacity to utilize that.

 “UL and Cuttington are not producing agriculture mechanics. We need agriculturalists who have the skills not only the scientists; we need extension workers who will advise the farmers.”  

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