By Judoemue M. Kollie
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) recently signed two project agreements to promote urban and peri-urban agriculture in vegetables and poultry and the sustainable management of Liberia’s forest sector.
The urban and peri-urban agriculture agreement, which is under the Technical Corporation Project (TCP) of the FAO, and valued at US$438,000, will provide support to sustainable production and marketing of vegetables and poultry mainly for venerable women and youth in Montserrado and Margibi counties; while the sustainable forest management “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” (FLEGT), valued at US$15 million, seeks to promote sustainable forest management and responsible governance in the country’s forest sector.
At least 1,500, mostly women and youth farmers in the targeted counties, are expected to benefit from the TCP.
As for the FAO-FLEGT Program, it will be implemented in close collaboration with the FDA and other forest sector partners to tackle illegal logging, promote trade in legal timber products and eventually contribute to sustainable forest management and poverty reduction.
The five-year initiative funded by the European Union (EU) will improve forest sector governance and trade legality on domestic and international market, improve the capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large forest-related businesses to participate in the production, marketing and trade of legal timber.
Dr. Charles McClain, MoA Deputy Minister for Planning and Development, signed the TCP on behalf of the Liberian Government, while Kendrick Johnson, FDA Deputy Managing Director for Administration and Finance, signed the FAO (FLEGT) project agreement on behalf of the Liberian Government.
In his remarks, Dr. McClain recalled the longstanding partnership with the FAO and its support of the government’s development agenda. He promised his ministry’s cooperation to work with the FAO to improve the lives of Liberian farmers.
Mr. Johnson mentioned that his institution remains committed to work with her partners to protect the natural resources of Liberia.
The FAO Representative in Liberia, Marc Abdala, maintained that the FAO has demonstrated strong commitment to work with the Government of Liberia and partners over the years to improve not only food security and nutrition but also the forestry sector.
“FAO stands ready to support the Government to improve the forest sector and ensure improved livelihoods for farmers in the country. Improving nutrition, food security and ending hunger are key to the FAO’s partnership with the Government of Liberia,” he said.