FAO Assures Commitment to Improving Liberia’s Food System

Launches Soil Analysis and Classification Project

The Assistant Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Liberia, Octavius T. Quabo says his institution remains committed to supporting the government of Liberia’s efforts to improve the country’s food system.

Speaking recently in Monrovia on behalf of his boss, Madam Mariatou Njie during the launch of the Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) titled, “Strengthening soil analysis and information system to enhance sustainable soil management and support evidence based decision making in Liberia”, Mr. Quabo said that his institution attaches great importance to the project because it will attract investment in the agricultural sector.

According to him, the program is directly funded by his organization as an approach to the transformation of the country’s food system.

The TCP program on soil analysis and classification to enhance crop production and land use seeks to include stakeholders to be technically abreast with the methodology of soil sampling field studies and laboratory analysis of sample soils to share knowledge and skills in order to come up with a framework or theme on the TCP on soil classification and inventory for the country.

Mr. Quabo told stakeholders during the launch of the TCP soil project that beyond agriculture and food production, experts have, however, confirmed that the evidence to be generated from the TCP will also inform all other interventions that concern the use of the soil in Liberia.

He, meanwhile, stressed the need for the government to ensure that the products or the works of the TCP are inclusive into her development priorities of sustainability purpose.

“We count on the Government of Liberia to ensure that the products are included in its development priorities so that gains made are sustained when the program phases out,” he said. 

He further said that FAO was pleased with the level of support from the government and academia and expressed the hope to sustain engagements with private sector actors and local communities who are the very end users of the product of the TCP.

 “We launch a TCP today that supports the food system, working from production to processing as well as marketing where thousands of jobs are possible and strengthening of Liberia’s Macroeconomic fundamentals rests,” he added.

According to Mr. Quabo, from the broader development perspective, FAO leads, under Pillar 2 of the ProPoor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), the efforts of the United Nations Country Team to provide the enabling environment that ignite and facilitate more sustainable jobs and economic development in the country.

Commenting further, the FAO Assistant Country Representative said that his institution also places emphasis on food safety and control systems so that handling and preparation are done according to safety standards and that adequate disposal is ensured, upon consumption. 

“Towards this, another technical cooperation program is ongoing with the government of Liberia led by the National Standards Lab, Ministry of Health, National Public Health Institute and the Ministry of Agriculture,” he informed stakeholders during the program.

 Mr. Quabo mentioned that his institution has reassured support to help make the seed system work in Liberia.

“For we have all acknowledged that the food system is from seeds, soil to consumption as well as waste. Building on these, FAO is technically leading today the simultaneous launch of the National Dialogues of the 2021 Food System Summit,” he said.

“Policymakers, academics, researchers, producers, value chain actors and consumers, our desire to achieve goal two of the SDGs: “End Hunger in Liberia” will only be possible if our soil selection is informed by evidence and all other good production practices are ensured,” he added.

For his part, the senior soil scientist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zolue, said that his ministry was pleased to see FAO funding the TCP soil project in Liberia.

He told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview that the project is expected not only to attract investment in the agriculture sector but will also help to improve the productivity of Liberian farmers.

According to him, experts are to carry out the implementation of the project in Nimba County where some productive agricultural activities including taking soil samples from the field to the University of Liberia’s laboratory are ongoing.

He said that they as stakeholders are working with the University of Liberia to ensure the smooth implementation of the project.

Dr. Zolue erased the perceptions by some Liberians that the soil of the country is well fertile, something he stated that it has not been proven by scientific evidence.

According to him the current project is a pilot and with additional funding other counties will be covered in the future.

“The government is challenged when it comes to resources. To classify our soil, it shall require a lot of money. But we are grateful to our partner, FAO, for funding this project at the moment,” he said.