11,000 Cocoa stakeholders to benefit
The financing agreement on the Tree Crops Extension Project, valued at US$13.7 million, which was signed between Liberia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), was ratified by the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 6. The ratification meant concurrence, having been passed by the Senate, on Tuesday, December 10, 2016.
The overall goal of the loan is to improve the living conditions and climate change resilience of smallholder cocoa producers in Nimba County.
During yesterday’s session, which marked the 24th day sitting, 27 out of the 38 lawmakers voted in favor of the passage, while two lawmakers abstained.
According to the Loan Agreement, the target population will be 11,000 stakeholders of the cocoa value chain, which includes: 8,000 cocoa small holders who are members of Kuu Groups and Farmer Field Schools (FFS); approximately 2,400 (30%) other farmers who will also benefit from roads, input supply and market linkages; and 600 beneficiaries as a result of job creation along the value chain.
The agreement also said the project will adapt a value chain approach to link cocoa farmers organized at grassroots level in Kuu Groups and FFS, to market and services through cooperatives and private sector partners.
The agreement further seeks the following: “Increase the quantity and quality of cocoa sold and high price received by smallholders, improved access to market and reduced transportation cost, and improved service provision to cocoa farmers for value chain development.”
The approval of the agreement was due to a recommendation from the House’s Joint Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Judiciary and Ways, Means, Finance.