Liberia: FAO Boss Urges Foreign Service Graduates to Champion Agricultural Diplomacy


Liberia: FAO Boss Urges Foreign Service Graduates to Champion Agricultural Diplomacy

The Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mariatou Njie has urged recent graduates of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute to become torch bearers of what she termed as agricultural diplomacy.

Njie said agricultural diplomacy will help improve the Liberian economy–helping to expose the country’s agricultural products to international markets.

“I hold no doubt that you are all well versed on development diplomacy. However, with agricultural diplomacy – which could be seen as a branch-off of development diplomacy - , there is an extraordinary potential for this nation to rediscover itself.”

She spoke recently in Monrovia when she served as guest speaker of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute. 

“I want you all to promote Liberia’s agricultural products in getting to foreign markets, and at dining tables far beyond the borders of this land,” Njie stated.

She emphasized that agricultural diplomats play a crucial role in making their country’s economy strong by “helping bring their agricultural businesses to international markets.”

Liberia, she noted, is endowed with vast resources and potential, which are  untapped opportunities that could rebrand the country towards inclusive economic development and social progress.

As compared to other countries of the world, Njie indicated that Liberia’s population is young and energetic, and that arable land lies in abundance, and the policy environment for inclusive development is well developed and elaborate.

She noted that it is high time that Liberia take a paradigm shift to ensure progress and diplomacy that can be remodeled to focus on things that matter.

“That if we as a people and a nation must live the dream of a better tomorrow, we must leverage on our internal capacities with tangible results that tell better stories far beyond our borders.  I have been in Liberia for almost five years now, as I travel through the length and breadth of this beautiful country of yours, all I see is the potential to triumph,” she added. 

The FAO Country Representative said with these available opportunities, the onus is on them to challenge themselves to drive a paradigm shift in the diplomatic history of Liberia, and that new thinking is nothing else but agricultural diplomacy which is an approach being practiced by very powerful and influential nations in the world today.

“This means agricultural diplomats are not “Armchair state actors’’ they can potentially contribute to economic growth, ensure poverty reduction and promote trade in agricultural products through market intelligence and facilitating market access far beyond the commerce of Liberia,” she said. 

She said that she looks to see a new corps of agricultural diplomats, fully inducted into the Liberian Foreign Service, to help transform and change Liberia diplomatic narratives toward inclusive state building for economic transformation.  

Since 1977, FAO has supported and partnered with the Government of Liberia and key relevant players on key programmatic interventions to promote agricultural transformation and inclusive economic development in Liberia. 

The organization has engaged, collaborated, and built sustained partnerships beyond multilateral and bilateral fronts, working with Government, the private sector, civil society organizations, farmers based organizations, and amongst others. This is truly our passion, and leading the international efforts to defeat hunger.