Farmers, Stakeholders Urge Passage of LACRA Bill

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In a bid to encourage the enactment of a bill for the creation of a new agency, the ‘Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority, (LACRA),’ to replace the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC), stakeholders last Friday held a one-day awareness meeting at the University of Liberia.
Participants included cocoa farmers, experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, representatives of the NGO community, and the Cooperative Development Agency. The bill has been presented to the Legislature by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
With the joint committees of both Houses of the Legislature fully in attendance, stakeholders presented separate statements highlighting the importance of the LACRA Bill to government.
Director of Program Management Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zinnah said a well-regulated market will attract huge investments in the agro sector as well as create employment for Liberians.
Dr. Zinnah indicated that buyers are avoiding Liberia agriculture produce because they are not sure if our produce meet international standards.
He pointed out that if the bill were passed into law the new agency would thoroughly monitor the production of cocoa, coffee and palm oil to meet the demands of consumers around the globe.
The former Registrar of Cooperatives, Joseph Kettor, said the House of Representatives and the Senate have no choice but to comply with the wishes of the people who are in support of the bill.
Mr. Kettor said the new agency will protect farmers from exploitation and increase the desire of outsiders to invest in Liberian produce.
The Dean of Agriculture at the University of Liberia, Dr. Roland Massaquoi, and the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation Managing Director, Nyah Mantein, reflected on the challenges of transforming the entity into LACRA, but stressed that it could be done with the support of the government, the World Bank and other partners.
He urged lawmakers to make the passage of the bill a national duty and save the country from external exploitation.
In his response, House Committee Chairman on Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Lofa County Representative Fofie Sahr Mbemba, welcomed the appeal of the stakeholders and promised to prevail on his colleagues to pass the bill without further delay.
He emphasized that the transformation of LPMC to LACRA will surely be a blessing for cocoa, coffee and palm oil farmers who are desperately in need of cash.
The new agency will be referred to as Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority, (LACRA) to replace the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) created in 1973.
The one-day consultative meeting was attended by the proxy for the Deputy Minister for Technical Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Sizi Subah, Director of Program Management Unit, Dr. Moses Zinnah, Former CDA Registrar, Joseph Kettor, a proxy for Deputy Minister of Commerce, Cyril Allen, among others.

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