Gov’t Receives US$23M Boost for Cocoa Sector

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Minister Tweah (R) exchanges the signing document with Miaryov, IFAD Senior Officer for West and Central Africa, shortly after the indoor ceremony ended.

…To boost Liberia’s Agriculture Sector, Others

To add value to the country’s agriculture sector, the government, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), signed the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) financing agreement worth US$23 million to boost the agriculture sector, referencing Cocoa. IFAD is a donor-funded program that intends to support the Liberian agriculture sector.

The signing ceremony, which was held on Thursday, November 21, 2019, also provided the Tree Crops Extension Project (TCEP) of additional financing in the tune of US$9 million to support the rehabilitation of rural roads in the project area of Nimba County.

The STAR-P is aligned with the World Bank Group’s (WBG) twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity and the emerging priorities of Liberia’s new administration as reflected in the government’s five-year Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

It also focuses on the economic empowerment of farmers and will directly contribute towards increasing shared prosperity and helping Liberia tackle its worsening challenge of poverty.

At the signing ceremony, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, extolled IFAD and the World Bank for such intervention that will bring relief to farmers, particularly those in the cocoa production sector.

Tweah assured that the government and people will remain grateful for such intervention, most specifically when they are making all necessary strides to ensure that agriculture takes center stage as the bedrock of the country’s economy.

He then told IFAD and World Bank delegation that if Liberia will lift its people out poverty, it will happen in the agriculture space, “because it has a lot of potentials to employ people and make Liberia a food security nation.”

Tweah said by now, the country should have done better in the sector, because, prior to its civil crisis, the country saw a rise in cocoa production, and for some reason, the module was changed.

In reference to Ghana, La Cote d’Ivoire, who are doing better in the cocoa sector, Tweah sees no reason why Liberia cannot do better, “so it is incumbent upon the government and partners to ensure that the secure is well supported to meet the reality.”

IFAD Senior Officer for West and Central Africa, Radu D. Miaryov, said the signing the STAR-P Financing Agreement and the TCEP, are being done at a critical point where Liberia is facing serious economic challenges in which these agreements will boost the cocoa agriculture sector and add value chain to it.

The project, Miaryov said intends to strengthen cocoa production, mainly replanting by ensuring a real increase in its production.

This, according to him, is in the context of the cocoa sector that has a very promising expectation; and a very potential to increase revenue for farmers and the government.

Miaryov added, “Right now, I believe that 12 percent cash crops export are from the cocoa sector, and there is an expectation that employment can be tripled within the next 10 years, specifically the youth employment.”

This particular document, which we have signed today, will also boost road connectivity in project areas so as to ease the difficulty that farmers face in bringing their products to the market.

“I believe that once we start, and production become for real, the project will increase the production of cocoa to 10,000 metric tons to be valued at US$25 million on an annual basis for the country,” said Miaryov.

Earlier, Assistant Agriculture Minister for Administration, Ernest J. Clarke, who spoke on behalf of the Acting Minister, Madam Precious K. Tetteh, expressed gratitude to IFAD for the additional financing initiative, which he said will go a long way in building the capacity of farmers in nine of the 15 counties, including Bong and Nimba.

Clarke said the additional financing agreement, will also help boosts the country’s economic growth.

“We can assure you that the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is committed to this process; and we will ensure that the project achieved its objective,” he said.

Mr. Clarke told the IFAD delegation that the MoA has some of its best technicians, who are being assigned with the project to make sure it is well implemented.

He then acknowledged Minister Tweah for the ‘tireless efforts in bringing the partners together for the successful implementation of the financing agreements.

14 COMMENTS

  1. why do these people give money to these theives. nothing will come out of it. that money will be gone in a PUFF OF SMOKE. Weah and Tweah will eat it all. THIS IS ANOTHER DONOR MONEY THAT WILL BE USED . DIG HOLE COVER HOLE. How stupid is the world bank. dont they ever learn? Liberia is incapable of handling such large funds. Look how tweah is smiling because he knows that of the 23 million all will BLOW UP IN SMOKE

    • Don’t know that . But in the article , it the Representative presenting the check that is doing most of the talking and what he thinks. Government officials have no national agriculture policy to even speak about in the presentation. Now , here is the doubt being expressed by the Representative: ” I believe that once we start , and production become for real, blah blah blah blah” . Why should it not become real with given the fact that 23 million US dollars are pumped in the project ? No government outlines to implement through a national exiting agriculture policy. Hence the doubt. But here’s how that money will be expanded. One will see nearly every officials claiming to be a cocoa farmer or has a farm. While others will be fronting and using political pressure through the local farmers in their communities. Under the previous regime, most were rubber farmers when the Ellen Johnson regime passed out money in an alleged scheme to save rubber farmers. Not too long ago , under the Weah regime, a 1.7 million US dollars was distributed to rubber farmers , and Senator Cooper a rubber farmer spearheaded that in the budget. Wonder what is the output of rubber now by local farmers into the free market ? Senator Cooper should give out that finding. All this bogus businesses have their foundations from the control and illegal used of the County Development Funds. It has always been ” Good news “, but to the detriment of those who actually need the funds. And a joy to the politicians who gets to determine who gets the funds. Almost like our common prayers of : God bless the cook and cursed the divider. Amen brother.

  2. Many thanks to IFAD. But, from past experience, people are anxious to know just how the US $23 million will
    be dispensed – and by whom. Also, will disbursements be made as loans to farmers – in cash only or in kind as well? And how will farmers qualify for participation in the program? (By the way, which are the other seven counties earmarked for the program?)

  3. Some of these international institutions such as the World Banks are contributing factors to Liberia’s problems. Liberian Cocoa farmers are among the poorest in Liberia. This $ 23 million US dollars will be misapplied. This government will use it to pay their salary arrears instead of boosting the Cocoa Sector.This is the reason that Minister Tweh is smiling.First of all, both the president and Minister Tweh own no farms. They are not farmers. Therefore, they do not care for them. They are not urgent priority for this government. In fact, the Minister of Agriculture should have accompanied Minister Tweh. Unfortunately, he is nowhere in the picture. He should have stood alongside Minister Tweh as he receives this huge money intended for Cocoa Farmers.

    • The Minister of Agriculture being at the reception ceremony doesn’t mean he will have control over disbursement. It will be the Minister of Finance who will order any disbursements.

      Tamba, don’t worry. I don’t think this money will be misappropriated. The Weah’s government has been warned enough. I think they have learned some lessons.

  4. My father did cocoa and Caffe farm for over 50+ years but NOthing came from it; useless jobs. Firestone have been in Liberia since 1926, what has come out of it?
    These are useless professions. Tell your children to think better and big. You and your children will never move forward doing manual labor jobs.
    We do not do Agriculture in Liberia. We do Rice farming and the time to turn this around the native way is 3-4months. Cocoa and Caffe turned around is 5-7 years.
    God bless Liberia.

    • I disagree with you Mr. Curran.
      The richest people in Ghana and the Ivory Coast are Cocoa and coffee farmers. They own estates, big companies in every sector. They can define government policies.
      Though rice is equally great, NEVER underestimate the cocoa crop.

      • Mr. Dolo,
        Ghana; yes but not in Liberia. I am still living in the village but I travel to keep my high tech knowledge up to date. The few rubber, cocoa and coffee trees are still around. The rubber trees are now forest, etc.
        I grew up working on the rice, cocoa, and coffee farms of my parent. Nobody in Liberia knows better about these farms than me.
        I also partly grew up in Firestone in Division 7, 6 and 10 from 1970-1972. I know these useless work first hand; not they say. We grew collar greens from these Divisions for LU.
        Basically nobody in the zorzor-salayea, Loffa County is growing such cash crops these days; everything is dead.
        They should mainly invest in crops that they can turn over quickly; eat and export and allow their children to dream big (powerplants: hydroDams, nuke, engineering, Aerospace, Medicals, etc).
        I sold donuts, oranges, peanuts, etc on the street. I know about most of these manual labors, etc.
        I have the first hand experience to discuss basically any of the needs of Liberia.
        God bless.

  5. Corrections:
    1) Firestone has been ..

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