Beneficiaries of agriculture scholarships in four of the nation’s institutions of higher learning have no cause to worry about fees as academic activities are on the verge of resumption.
This is because one of the major agricultural scholarship donors in the country, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), has provided US$100,000.00 to ensure that these students’ fees are paid.
The agriculture company, which is involved in oil palm production, made the donation last Friday at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The company has been donating scholarship money to agriculture students ever since it signed a concessional agreement with the government of Liberia in 2010.
Students studying agriculture from the four universities, the University of Liberia (UL), United Methodist University (UMU), Cuttington University (CU) and the William V. S. Tubman University (TU) in Maryland, will be the beneficiaries. The donation is a part of the company’s commitment and in compliance with its Social Responsibility to the Liberian people, especially residents of its concessional areas.
The symbolic cheque presentation was made to the Agriculture Minister, Dr. Florence Chenoweth by GVL’s manager for compliance, K. Emmanuel Yarkpazuo, on behalf of the company.
Minister Chenoweth, upon receiving the cheque, lauded the company for its continuous support to the agriculture sector, especially in the area of manpower development. She said GVL is one of those companies that are substantially contributing to the sector by awarding both local and international scholarships to Liberians.
The Agriculture Minister called on Liberian students, especially the beneficiaries of the scholarships, to take their lessons seriously, as the opportunities are being provided in order that they might take over the sector in the not distant future. She called on other companies operating in the country to emulate the splendid example of GVL if they indeed mean well for the country.
Dr. Chenoweth urged students to learn to cultivate a habit of hard work and discipline as they study to magnify their chances of success. She noted that more young people are now taking interest in the sector and more are gaining the requisite capacities.
Mr. Yarkpazuo, the GVL manager for compliance, said his company considers as a priority the development of capacities of Liberians, especially the young ones who are to take over the leadership of the company’s operation.
He further stated that GVL also considers among its prime responsibilities practicing legal compliance, regulatory adherence, procedures in oil palm production, and the development of proper systems and attitudes.
At GVL operations in Liberia’s southeast, he said, “we aspire to be among the best oil palm producers in the global industry as we stand for key values.”
GVL comes to build the incoming generation of Liberians and give them a better future, Mr. Yakpazuo added.
He called on the government to use the scholarship funds for their intended purpose. He also told the beneficiaries to see the opportunity as a gateway to a brighter future for themselves and urged them to see themselves as the future of Liberia.
GVL’s development and education manager, Mrs. Jean Hannah-Thompson, providing overview of the GVL scholarship program, said since 2010 the company has been committed to its social responsibility to the Liberian people and will continue to do so as long as the company stays in Liberia.
The company has several well paying jobs for specific purposes and skills, most especially for young university graduates, she noted.
"There are plenty of well paying positions within GVL for these specific skill sets, particularly for young university graduates, but you have to be willing to put in the work, the effort and the dedication to succeed," she declared.
She encouraged students to focus on the needs of the country by studying agriculture, agronomy and engineering.
Several stakeholders in the education sector, especially from the benefitting universities along with Education Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh, also graced the occasion.
In a related development, GVL has assisted in funding or partially funded the education of more than 1,400 college and university students, through its annual scholarship program, which is facilitated through the Ministry of Agriculture.
Additionally, the company runs the largest primary school in Sinoe County, which has more than 600 students in attendance.
Last year the company sent its first seven mill engineers to Indonesia for further training. Once the engineers complete their training program there, which is expected to last between 12-18 months, they will return to Liberia into management positions specific to their skills.