Says 300 smallholder farmers to receive inputs
Dr. John S. Flomo, director-general of the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA), says several foreign investors have expressed interest in making a reasonable investment in the country’s cocoa and coffee sector.
Dr. Flomo made the disclosure recently to journalists in Monrovia when he unfolded some developments his entity has undertaken.
He said it was during his recent representation at the Global Cocoa of Excellence Award ceremony, held in Paris, France, that he had the opportunity to talk with investors, who expressed their intention to invest in the cocoa sector, mainly in the area of value addition.
“While in Paris, I met with management of the chocolate companies, who are owners of big cocoa businesses. They are engaged in buying and selling as well as processing cocoa around the world. They expressed willingness to come to Liberia and invest in the agriculture sector,” he said.
According to Dr. Flomo, the Cocoa of Excellence Award is an annual event that brings together nations around the world to showcase premium and quality cocoa.
“Liberia was recognized at the conference by the International Cocoa Organization (ICO) for producing quality cocoa. But our cocoa sector is still faced with challenges which we are striving to change,” he said.
He added that Liberia is to be represented in the next Award ceremony in San Francisco, USA, next year where the country will showcase its premium cocoa.
“The executive director of the ICO is expected to pay a visit to Liberia anytime soon to engage the government and various actors in the cocoa value chain,” he added.
Dr. Flomo said despite limited budgetary allotment toward his entity, there are numerous achievements being undertaken by his administration.
“We took over this office in a dilapidated condition as the building did not have windows and air-conditioning. But currently, we have done a massive renovation to improve the various offices,” he said.
He added that they have also worked on improving the various warehouses to store cocoa products in some of the counties.
Dr. Flomo said plans are underway by his entity to assist 300 smallholder farmers in the cocoa regions with inputs.
“We are working to assist smallholder farmers with necessary inputs to boost their production capacities.
Authorities of LACRA believe that with more support from the government to assist smallholder farmers, Liberia is expected to produce approximately 900 metric tons of cocoa to contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).