The new Country Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assigned to Liberia, Marc Abdala, recently presented his Letter of Credence to Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
The new FAO Country Representative said he was in Liberia to join the Country Office team in working alongside the Government of Liberia (GoL) to fight hunger, poverty and malnutrition through the development of agriculture in its broad spectrum, youth empowerment and the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). He added that Liberia is a great country with hard working and committed people eager to take the nation to higher heights, especially in the areas of food security, fishery, forestry and support to rural women. He then pledged FAO’s continued collaboration with the government and people of Liberia in the New Year 2015.
For his part, Foreign Minister Ngafuan recalled FAO’s enormous contributions to food security and agriculture, as well as the Organization’s current efforts, aimed at combating the Ebola virus.
“You can be assured of stronger collaboration between FAO and the government during your tenure as head of mission of your Organization”, the Minister stated. He said the government and people of Liberia are grateful for “FAO’s assistance to the country in the days of crisis.” The Liberian Foreign Minister expressed concern over effects of Ebola on farmers and agriculture, adding the government will be looking forward to FAO’s increased support in the New Year and beyond.
At the same time, the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and FAO signed a two-year project document for the survey and characterization of livestock breeds in the country. The project, titled, “Survey and characterization of livestock breeds and their production systems in Liberia for the development of a National Strategy and Action Plan for animal genetic resources”, is worth USD 337,000.
This proposal is to support the survey and characterization of the genetic resources of livestock (cattle, goats, sheep and pigs) in Liberia. In addition, this project will support the establishment of a National Strategy and Action Plan for the sector.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Florence Chenoweth, speaking during the signing ceremony, lauded FAO for supporting the development of livestock in Liberia. She said the effort is in consonance with Government’s decentralization and capacity development across the country. Minister Chenoweth said the Ministry of Agriculture remains committed to the cordial working relationship subsisting between FAO and MoA.
“The more we present ourselves as one group working together, the more it’s better for farmers and agriculture,” the Minister added.
For his part, FAO’s Representative Mr. Abdala, reiterated the Organization’s desire to support a vibrant agricultural programme in line with FAO’s Country Programming Framework and the government’s priorities. He praised the people of Liberia “for achieving a lot and doing quite well in recent years. He then expressed confidence that the country will soon overcome the Ebola Virus Disease for a fresh start in 2015.
A career agronomist, the newly FAO Representative has vast professional and working backgrounds in agriculture, agro chemistry, agriculture industry development and diplomacy. He joined FAO in 1998 and has served in several countries and portfolios, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, la Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic as well as Ethiopia, where he worked with the African Union through the FAO Representation based in Addis Ababa in addressing food insecurity in the Horn of Africa. He is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo.