At least five thousand cocoa farmers from Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties are to benefit from the Liberia Cocoa Improvement Program (LICSIP) that will officially be launched on Friday, May 4, in Bong County.
The program, already being implemented since January this year by Solidaridad West Africa, aims to create a profitable cocoa economy that will be driven primarily by farmers’ organizations and supply chain companies within a well national regulatory, institutional framework, Solidaridad West Africa’s Country Representative MacArthur Pay-Bayee has said.
Solidaridad is an international development organization with more than 45 years of experience in improving the sustainability of global supply chains.
“The core implementation strategy of LICSIP is to promote farmers’ access to [different] production support services that lead to farm intensification, rehabilitation of moribund farms, new planting methods on fallow lands and general extension services through our unique operation of Centers for Cocoa Development (CCDs) model that was proven successful in Ghana and other West African States,” said Pay-Bayeee.
Moreover, he said cocoa companies, farmer organizations and other supply chain actors will operate the CCDs in the cocoa regions, including Liberia, as small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide sustained services.
The cocoa intervention program, which will last for four years, is under the EU-Liberia Agriculture Program that is part of the 2014-2020 National Indicative Program (NIP) for the 11th European Development Fund.
Solidaridad West Africa contributed 1 million Euros as an addition to the European Union’s 4 million Euros.
Also, Solidaridad-Liberia Senior Program Officer, Boima Bafaie, said following the launch of the project, work will begin with cocoa sector stakeholders to address and promote an improved institutional policy and regulatory framework to create a national cocoa platform to contribute to an improved sector governance and access to employment.
Janet Dabire, Solidaridad West Africa’s Communication and Knowledge Manager said the EU Ambassador to Liberia, Hélène Cavé, Cocoa stakeholders and officials of government are expected attend the Friday’s launch.
Solidaridad West Africa operates in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, currently managing various projects in cocoa, oil palm, maize and gold commodities across the sub-region.