To strengthen and boost capacity building, which ultimately aims to enhance the productivity of Liberia’s Cocoa Cooperatives to develop the sector’s potential, Arjay Farm in collaboration with its international partner, International Trade Centre (ITC), has conducted a strategic Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop for several Agriculture Cooperatives. ITC is a Geneva-based Institution implementing the Netherland Trust Fund (NTF IV) Project here in Liberia. At the same time, Arjay Farm is involved with building Liberian Cocoa farmers’ capacity and, by extension, structuring the striving Cocoa sector of Liberia.
According to a release issued in Monrovia, the strategic Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop provided the relevant knowledge and technical skills to empower the participating farmer cooperatives essentially. Arjay Farm trained farmers on designing, consolidating, and executing sound marketing strategies and developing quality bargaining skills to ensure that Liberian Cocoa farmers reap their fair and deserving market returns from their hard-earned yield products.
The TOT, which lasted for ten days, equipped the participating farmers’ Cooperatives with the proper agro knowledge and hybrid skills with which they can adequately train other cooperative members within the organization of Famer Cooperatives and appropriately manage their farming projects at a more structured level.
One hundred twenty-two farmers were trained, of which 70 males and 52 females participated, thus indicating gender sensitivity. The TOT strategically exhausted the following relevant topics: “Understanding Cooperatives, Governance Leadership of Cooperative, Cooperative Marketing, Business and Management Skills, Financial Management and Adult learning Principles and Practices.”
The strategic TOT took place in Bong and Nimba Counties respectively—from October 26th to November 4th, 2020 in Bong County and from February 1st to 5th and 8th to 12th in Nimba County—gathering participants from the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA), Business Managers from the various Famers’ Cooperatives, and Arjay Farm Management.
Mr. Albert Omar Mruma, a Specialist Consultant from Tanzania, facilitated the first ten-day training of trainers (ToT) workshop where the following Famer Cooperatives participated: Zodoe Cooperative Society, Nimba County, Zoyea Cooperative Society, Nimba County, Panta Cooperative Society, Bong County, and Tuenpah Cooperative Bong County.
Arjay Farms and its partner ITC emphasized that agriculture is the new and most viable economic frontier. Liberia can spur rapid economic development, create millions of jobs and ensure food security for its people. However, Liberia could only realize such a feat if the Agro Sector is genuinely emphasized by the relevant state authorities and foreign partners—through sound and doable policy prescriptions and appropriate budgetary allocation. They further proposed that incentivizing the farmers is critical. It begins with the farmers acquiring proper knowledge and skills, such as the one they received from the just-ended Arjay-ITC facilitated TOT workshop.
Arjay Farm and ITC stated that the results of this strategic training are that it would go a long way in unlocking Liberian Cocoa farmers’ full potential. It instills into them the mindset to develop and transform into large-scale farmers through fresh and progressive innovations and strategic networking, marketing, and valuable partnership.
Farmers stated in a post-training evaluation that the training workshop was impactful and praised the trainers for the excellent presentations. They also added that the various topics were comprehensively and thoroughly covered, and that the ten-day TOT workshop has substantially enhanced and shaped their knowledge as to the skills, methods, and systems.
Farmers have the opportunity to unlock Liberia’s Cocoa sector’s full potential and possibly transform it into a booming industry like Ivory Coast, Ghana, and other cocoa producing Countries, who have done so quite successfully and have become known to be global giants in Cocoa and coffee productions.