Vice President Joseph Boakai yesterday inaugurated Solidaridad West Africa in Liberia, a new agriculture program launched under the theme, “Change that Matters.”
Solidaridad Country Representative is MacArthur Pay-Bayee. Yesterday’s launch was chaired by Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Chairman, Governance Commission and former president of Liberia’s Interim Government of National Unity.
VP Boakai expressed appreciation for the involvement of Mr. Pay-Bayee and Dr. Sawyer demonstrating what he described as their deep commitment and service to country.
Solidaridad is a global network organization with nine regional hubs across five continents from where it touches 52 countries with its development work. The regional office is based in Ghana with operational programs in Nigeria, La Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and now, Liberia.
As a Civil Society Organization (CSO), Solidaridad promotes sustainable development through interventions that impact positively on communities, agricultural supply chains, climate resilience and national economic development.
“As I took time off to apprise myself with the work of the Solidaridad Network across five of the seven continents, I have come to appreciate that its activities are largely streamlined with Liberia’s National Agenda for Transformation,” VP Boakai observed.
He said the project aims at supporting a core pillar of “Accelerated Agricultural Modernization and Natural Resource Management in our Medium Term Development Framework.”
According to the Vice President, this idea is in tandem with the Food and Agriculture Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture.
“I am also delighted to know that through its supply chain development work, the Solidaridad Network is strategically positioned to support countries to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” expressed VP Boakai.
The SDGs set a guiding framework for all development stakeholders to benchmark their development interventions.
“I am exceedingly happy therefore that Solidaridad Network has recognized Liberia’s need to form a part of the efforts to achieve sustainable approaches to development, and has come to partner with us,” Boakai told the gathering.
He said the imperative for addressing growing demands for food, energy and fiber against an ever growing world population within the context of dwindling natural resources that planet earth can offer, has engaged the attention of governments globally.
He believes that this may have informed the rethinking of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the new SDGs, which both governments and the private sector need to partner and address.
Meanwhile, VP Boakai has assured all development partners including the Solidaridad Network that the Liberian government is committed to partnering with civil society to implement the country’s transformational agenda for a better Liberia, adding, “I have no doubt that since Solidaridad operates in several other countries, the very mandate of these governments is such that they would like to seek partnership with the development community and civil society.”
All this, he said, goes to help address the needed socio-economic needs of their respective countries, noting that Liberia is therefore not alone in the search for development partners and establishing a platform that ensures sustainability.
Earlier in his welcome statement, Dr. Sawyer said the coming of Solidaridad is designed in such a way as to lift Liberia out of poverty and to give the country a strategic place in economic development, thereby creating and strengthening entrepreneurship as key aspects the entity emphasizes.
He lauded Solidaridad and its partners for accepting to come to Liberia and the international actors for their support in ensuring that the initiative was established in Liberia, especially in the farming sector.
Solidaridad, according to Mr. Pay-Bayee, begins its operations in Liberia with an overall objective of mitigating food and nutrition security by improving farm household food access, availability and utilization through improved incomes from cocoa, oil palm and increased production of rice, cassava and plantain.
He said the Solidaridad West Africa office in Liberia will work closely with the government; private sector partners; civil society organizations; and the Dutch government.
Established in 2003, as West Africa Fair Fruit and integrated into Solidaridad Network in 2012, Solidaridad West African supports sustainable development of farmers and production systems in the region. It focuses on the enhancement of value chains of fresh processed agricultural commodities and other non-agricultural commodities. The organization works across six supply chains including cocoa, oil palm, gold, soy, maize and cotton within the region, advocating for sustainable landscape approaches to meet the ever increasing demand for food, fuel and fiber without compromising the environment.
Solidaridad envisions a world in which “all we produce and all we consume can sustain us, while respecting the planet, each other and the next generations.”
The mission brings together supply chain actors and engages them in innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all.