Bong Rice Farmers Harvest 253 Acres, Amid Tractor Tax Ordeal

10
1915
Farmers in Boinsen District, Bong County, conducting the harvest of 252 acres of upland rice.

-Appeal for Pres. Weah’s intervention

In 2018, Kesseh Yeleboh a son of Boinsen District in Bong County imported two farm tractors in to the country to assist more than 500 struggling farmers from seven villages in his district to mechanize food crops production, mainly rice. But since then, Yeleboh has found it very difficult to clear the tractors from the Free Port of Monrovia due to tax imposed by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

However, despite Kesseh’s frustration to get the tractors cleared from the port, the farmers in the district supported by him demonstrated their commitment this year to manually cultivate 253 acres of upland and 50 acres of lowland with rice which the farmers are almost at the verge of completing the harvest.

The Liberian rice value chain faces numerous challenges including limited, reliable and certified seeds as well as general lack of knowledge and equipment to mechanize in order to improve farmers’ yields and minimize post-harvest losses. Many lowland and upland farmers lack improved skills and technologies to improve production. Post-rice harvest loses remain high as farmers are not able to process and store their crops quickly. As a result of such lack of capacity among Liberian farmers, the importation of rice has become the primary solution for meeting demand. Statistics show that Liberia spends US$200 million annually on rice importation.

Flashback: Kesseh Yeleboh explains his frustrations to his kinsmen about the farm tractors held up at the Free Port of Monrovia.

Mr. Yeleboh told the Daily Observer that his farming initiative is meant to address some of these challenges faced by farmers in the country. He said he is not only working to provide tractors, but intends to construct a processing hub that will be equipped with various equipment to enable the farmers reduce post-harvest losses.

“I made the Government to understand that I intend to improve the farming conditions of my kinsmen, who are still producing rice at a low scale. The farmers lack the opportunity to engage in modern farming activities. This is why I imported the tractors to enable them to expand and produce more. But some government officials are saying that my organization is out for profit making, which is the reason they don’t want to grant tax relief on the [imported] equipment,” he said.

He said the ‘Kesseh Foundation’ was established in 2016 as a non-profit organization to empower small scale farmers, which he argued should be a basis for the government to see reason to grant him tax relief on his farm tractors.

In line with the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), President George Weah, in August 2019, issued Executive Order #97, spending tariffs on agriculture products for a period of one year.

Kesseh is therefore appealing to the President to intervene in getting the farm tractors released in line with the tax waver proclamation.

“With all of the engagement, the authorities are saying that the equipment are now ready for auction at the Free Port. I am asking the President to please intervene to allow us speedily take delivery of the tractors.

Albert Newah, Field Manager of the project, said that they were pleased with the support being provided them by the Kesseh Foundation to improve their farming activities.

“With this rice project, we are going to end hunger in the district. So we are appealing to the government to please let us have access to the farm tractors,” Newah said.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The wrong method in producing rice.
    A research has to be done.
    I am researching also.
    Give me two more years.

    • Mr. Curran, I beg to contact you on Facebook to no avail. Two years is too much time. We have people who have researched and found solutions right here in the Ivory Coast. Accept my friend request on Facebook. I can be of great help to you and others.

    • Mr. Dolo.
      I am not a Cummings’s Person and not willing to import Ivorian or Chinese farming methods to Liberia.
      Step1, Chinese and Suwacoco farming methods are just wrong.
      I am not against Mr. Kesseh.
      He will hear about me soon. Now 253 acres; how many tons of rice were harvested? That was lots of acres/land area?

      With my method, you will harvest within 3-4 months; already tested two times.
      Two years too long? I am developing a native machine to do atleast 90% of the work. Well, you are saying same old same more. Cummings will save Liberia like those from the 1980s?

      If you could do science then you will see how long it takes (25+ years). to learn those Skills.
      Cummings does NOT have the needed Know-Hows to move Liberia forward; he will be debated. He can NOT create 100,0000 in 90 days; a LIE.
      We already had Tubman from Maryland; check his record. We must try talents from other places.

      • Mr. Kesseh, ofcourse I will visit you and many people around the country. Try all their ideas but you listen to what I have, you will like it immediately.
        Note: I am from the farm. I am only now building the machine.

        • Liberians like you are only good at making a lot of noise but do nothing. The man is doing his best at this immediate time of need (you’ve done nothing) and you are there talking about doing a research to come back with some findings and/or results in the next two years? Are you kidding me? If what he has stated here about his equipment being held up, the Government needs to see reason release them because he’s making some efforts in mechanized agriculture.

          • Sumo from where? What did you studied?
            I know 100% he is on the wrong track because I worked with my parent for 50+ years on the farm and I have the Sr Engineering experience. He is not doing agriculture but country farming with agricultural equipments; deadend street.

            You are the kind of people who want to rule Liberia; God bless you.

      • Mr. Curran,

        I love you so much my old man. You are just a great Liberian I would love to associate myself with in the field of agriculture, something I cherish very much.

        However, we are not forcing you in the Cummings’ camp. We persuade based on ideals and principles.

        There is a book written by Dr. Robert H. Schuller entitled “Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking”. In that book, the author demonstrated how a “team complex” is better than a “Star complex”.
        Having the know-hows doesn’t necessarily make you a good leader, and vice versa. You need to excel from a group, an organization or an institution. As a resourceful Liberian, you need to join the research team at the University of Liberia or Cuttington University College to impact an entire nation. You will need a president to adhere to your vision and dream. Alone, you are an island old man. Don’t die with all you know without your patrimony benefiting from it.

        Your dreams and aspirations could be channeled through Weah or Cummings or Urey’s political platform. As a president, you will not be able to implement anything, believe me old man.

        I will accept your condemnation of the Ivorian or Chinese’s agriculture methods if you can propose yours with a Liberian label, it would be a national pride.

        Please Sir, bring down your ego and help Liberia. Liberia needs you. Together, we can achieve something for the common good of all. Alone, you bring pride to your immediate family members only and after, your fame will die.
        Had Albert Einstein or Graham Bell or others done that, the world would not have been a better place. Look, you went to the 2017 elections and could not even win 2,000 votes.

        My respect my old man.

        • Only the best of our educated with the needed KnowHows can move our country forward.
          There is nobody in the COP that has the KnowHows or Skill sets to lift up Liberia Industrially.
          We have known these types of people since 1980. So far, Tolbert was the best educated President.
          Check my platform from 2017. It was the best because I come from the industrial sector; which is what Liberia needs.
          I went very late into the election; that is why my numbers were low. In fact I didn’t complete my campaign because they wanted George.
          Liberia can only grow her economy via industries of which most of your COPs and others do not the idea.
          RiceFarm Engineering methods have now been researched by me and the results are promising. I need to now built the model machines for testing.
          It will be a massive economic sector that will bring intensive cash for Liberian farmers like Mr Kesseh. Do you know how much Liberia pays for Rice import?

          Note:
          Am l older than Cummings? Do not call people “old man, Pape, etc”. I atleast learned that from German professionalism.

          God bless Liberia

          • Mr. Curran,

            I am very sorry for calling you “old man”. It was just a sign of respect and honor I was paying you but if you did not appreciate it, my sincere apologies Sir.

            However, I want you to know that I understand you perfectly and agree with you that only the people with the required know-hows and skillsets can move Liberia forward. I also agree with you that Tolbert was the most progressive president ever in the history of our nation. But beware Mr. Cuuran, it’s better to work under an institution than work alone. Go to the bank today and ask for loan to buy tractors. No bank will take you seriously as an individual if you cannot give the required collaterals unless you represent a cooperative. But if you were being ushered in by the government of Liberia or the University of Liberia or Cuttington University College, it would be practically easy. In so doing, the project will benefit and provide direct and indirect jobs for at least half a million Liberians.

            Let me give you the example of the country in live in, Cote d’Ivoire. There is a government agency called CNRA. The best brains for research in the Agrobusiness work therein. They conduct studies on all food and cash crops. The technical and economic feasible studies on every crop can be found at that agency free of charge. As an individual, if I am interested in making tomato farm, the only thing I need to do is to go to any CNRA office and request a free copy of the project and begin my farm. The people behind the studies have been paid by the government.

            Try to do the same for Liberia. Meet the current government. If you can’t, for any personal reason/s, join any other political grouping, preferably the ANC of Alexander B. Cummings and let’s change things together.

            Good morning Sir!
            Once again, my sincere apologies for calling you “old man”.

  2. Mr. Kesseh, Yako (Never mind)!
    It will be alright. We have heard your cry and plea. We will do something soon in our power to help as little as we can, don’t worry.
    We just hope the prophets of doom and gloom won’t come up again to say we are buying votes.

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