— Former V.P. Boakai
Former Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, has described agriculture as the lifeblood of every economy and, as such, he encourages every Liberian to invest more in the sector.
Boakai spoke recently at a program marking the harvest of a 30-hectare of lowland rice owned and operated by a local farmer in the Kissi Karma community in Johnsonville, outside Monrovia.
He told local farmers at the symbolic harvest ceremony of the rice that agriculture in developing countries, like Liberia encourages everyone to take farming as their top priority to reduce hunger.
The former Vice President said that over the years, the Liberian government has spent close to US$200 million annually on rice importation, something, he said takes away the country’s foreign exchange earnings. He added that it is important for the citizens to understand that Liberia can only reduce food importation by investing in the soil.
According to him, Liberians who will want to go back to the soil by placing keen interest in the agriculture sector, will be assured of government’s empowerment to minimize the country reliance on food aid.
In separate remarks, few other officials from the Agriculture Ministry that attended the ceremony lauded Boakai Massaquoi, the man who owns the rice project, for the initiative. They also expressed the ministry’s willingness to support Mr. Massaquoi.
“We will ensure that Liberians who are interested in agriculture receive government’s support through the distribution of farming implements, specifically to smallholder farmers in at least five of the 15 counties,” the officials said.
They also promised to soon dispatch some of the ministry’s field technicians to provide the necessary expertise that will enable Mr. Massaquoi to increase the rice productivity.
Jacob Tomei, general manager of the Boakai Massaquoi Agriculture Inc, informed the gathering that the organization was established on November 11, 2018, solely to contribute to the growth and development of the the country’s agriculture sector.
Since then, he said, the institution has been working in line with pillar two of the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which emphasizes agriculture, to ensure food security with the support of government and partners.