Cocoa buyers in Karnplay, Gbehlay Geh Statutory District have praised the County Administration for opening feeder roads in the county, especially around the Ivory Coast –Liberia border.
Speaking to the Daily Observer recently, the business manager of Yealue Brothers Produce Buying Agency, Rafael Saideh, said the opening of feeder roads around the cocoa belt is enhancing their movements to reach cocoa farmers.
He said the price of cocoa in Liberia is very impressive and encouraging and opening these roads has given a boost to cocoa farming in the area.
“Cocoa is sold for L$200 per kilogram, better than in Ivory Coast, which is one of the leading producing countries in the world,” he said.
Many cocoa warehouses in Karnplay were packed with thousands of bags of cocoa ready to be transported to Monrovia.
One of the managers told this newspaper that cocoa production in Liberia can be done year round, similar to Ivory Coast, “because there are lots of organizations helping to train cocoa farmers to manage their farms.”
“This year we thought that there would not be any cocoa, but surprisingly in October, we saw cocoa bearing, and it is the cocoa we are buying now,” he said.
“Cocoa used to be seasonal, with harvesting from August to November, but now farmers are no longer going through seasonal harvesting, owing to the training from NGOs working with the farmers,” a cocoa farmer said.
Last year cocoa farmers around Gblarlay and Behwalay in the Kpablee District complained about the challenges they encounter in taking their crops to the market, owing to deplorable road conditions.
Avenco Johnson, a farmer, told this newspaper that the only time farmers will enjoy their proceeds from selling cocoa is when the roads are rehabilitated.
Because of the poor road conditions last year, “we were receiving good prices from buyers but it was not as competitive as it is now.”
“We find more buyers now than last year because the roads are rehabilitated and we are asking for everywhere to be touched so we can live like those living in Monrovia,” Johnson said.
The buyers said because of “good cocoa price,” more farmers are shifting from rubber farming to cocoa.
Superintendent Fong Zuagele meanwhile has reiterated that the opening of feeder roads is a priority, making emphasis on areas that are completely cut off, including Kpablee, Buu – Yao as well as Gbi and Dorlu.