Liberia: Solidaridad Constructs First Post-war Cocoa Greenhouse in CARI

Agriculture is the biggest sector of the Liberian economy and provides livelihood for the majority of people. However, the sector has faced the huge challenge of proper research that will drive its activities upward to meet the growing demand and set the country on par with other industrialized neighbors who are thriving in the sector.

Improvement in agriculture has proven to be very important for the development of the entire country at a time when the extractive industries, on which it heavily depends, are seeing a dip in their potential. 

The cocoa sub-sector in one place, along with several other cash crops, that the national government has shifted to, to stabilize its struggling economy

Being a proven champion in the crop, Solidaridad West Africa is supporting the national effort by providing technical support to the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), which is the country’s only sectoral research institute.

With support from the European Union, and through the Cocoa Value Chain Development Program (COVADEP). Solidaridad has constructed a modern cocoa greenhouse that will be used by the research institute in its drive to improve the quality of cocoa production.

CARI’s Director General Dr. Victor Sumo says the action from its development partners is now addressing some of the many challenges that the institute has experienced. “CARI has been faced with various problems including, the lack of research infrastructure, inadequate staff capacity, and weak research extension linkages. A Strategic Plan developed by the institute is based on the vision that CARI will become a center of excellence for agricultural research, innovation, and capacity building for development. With this, we are taking a leap to achieving our desires”, he said.  

He added that the institution has a mission to contribute to increased productivity, commercialization, and competitiveness of the agricultural sector through the development, promotion, and dissemination of demand-driven knowledge, information, technologies, and innovations and build capacity for sustainable food and agro-industrial commodities productivity and profitability to enhance livelihoods. The greenhouse is a boost to achieving the goals of the research institute as outlined in the plan.

COVADEP Program Manager Marvin Samuel says this is a huge achievement of the program. “Supporting the country’s only agriculture research institution to improve its activities along the cocoa value chain is an important part of implementing the COVADEP. The provision of a cocoa greenhouse to CARI will positively impact the crop studies, and create ways that will lead to new and improved agronomic practices. We are glad that we can be a part of this huge contribution that will directly benefit cocoa producers and processors who are our primary beneficiaries, and positively impact the quality of the cocoa and finished products that they produce,” he said.

The total cost of the project is put at US$163,000.00 and will complement research activities around cocoa, providing knowledge and innovation on how producers can improve their farming activities.