Liberia Agriculture Review 2019: Reflecting Interventions by Government and Partners

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On the "Kuu", where farmers gather together, they come in close contact as they collectively work to open large farms for one another. But with the health restriction, it is difficult for them to work and make large farms.

President George M. Weah in his second annual message delivered to the 54th Legislature on Monday, January 28, 2019, described agriculture as critical to the transformation of the country and as such he promised his government’s commitment to put more money into agriculture in order to revive the sector.

According to the President, because the sector accounts for more than 70 percent of household earnings, it is important to note that the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) can only be sustainably achieved through agriculture.

The 14 year civil war in Liberia completely destroyed the agricultural sector, leaving it with infrastructural deficits and the disruption of food production. Since the end of the civil crisis government and partners have made some significant efforts to improve the sector in order to reduce poverty in the lives of poor farmers and to stimulate economic growth.

Hence, this agriculture sector review 2019, highlights some interventions made by the government and partners as reported in the Daily Observer newspapers. It is a collection of data on allotment in the national budget for agriculture, introduction of policies and an attempt to improve agriculture value chains, such as rice, vegetable, cassava, cocoa and coffee, as well as to encourage youths to take advantage of agriculture for employment.

Budget for Agriculture

Although, the President has expressed commitment to prioritize agriculture during the year under review, it was discovered that the allotment made in the 2019/2020 National Budget for agriculture was far less than that of previous year. An amount of US$6,208,754 was allotted in the budget for agriculture which is 1.16 percent of the total budget.

On the other hand, the Government has attracted additional funding from the World Bank and the African Development Bank as loans to support agriculture. However, stakeholders in the sector on the contrary have said that the country cannot continue to depend on external sources to support agriculture.

They want the government to ensure that the budget for agriculture be in line with “Malabo Declaration for Food and Nutrition Security”, which calls for 10% to be set aside annually for agriculture by every African government.

Mariatou Njie, Country Representative of FAO told stakeholders at the World Food Day Program that there is need for the Government to adhere to “Malabo Declaration for Food and Nutrition Security” to accelerate growth in the sector.

Meanwhile, President Weah has disclosed that the World Bank has expressed interest to further support agriculture.

Policies

The President, in fulfillment to his promise to prioritize agriculture, passed several laws, including the Act to Amend the Executive Law of Liberia to create a National Food and Feed Quality and Safety; the Financing Agreement Tree Crops Extension Project II (TCEP II) between Liberia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); the Act to Establish the Liberia Fertilizer Regulatory Division and an Act to Establish Liberia Plant Pesticides Regulatory Services Bureau.

The President also issued Executive Order number 97, spending tariff on all agriculture produce and equipment for a period of one year.

Rebecca Kalayi, President of the National Agro-inputs Dealer Association of Liberia (NAIDAL) commended the President for the duty waver policy and expressed the hope that it would benefit the country. She however, called on the government to strictly monitor the implementation of the policy.

Rice Value Chain

Rice is the staple food of Liberia but the country is yet to increase the production of rice to meet domestic consumption in order to reduce importation. Statistics still show that Liberia spent US$200 million to import rice annually. Moreover, the country’s rice sub-sector still faces many challenges.

Dr. Mongana Flomo, former Minister of Agriculture once told stakeholders that Liberia was expected to reduce rice imports by 7% last year through communal farming system. The plan by the former minister did not seem to materialize as he was relieved of his post and nothing is being reported about the outcomes on communal farming.

Partners and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) assisted farmers in rice producing counties to scale up the level of production but challenges such as limited extension service, market constraint, and the provision of improved seed still remained as impediment.

Mohammed Kamara, President of the National Rice Federation of Liberia stressed the need for the government to subsidize the rice sector. He said that about US$ 8 million, which is currently used by government annually to subsidize rice import, could be used to support local production.

Vegetable Value Chain

Vegetables are profitable crops in Liberia but the majority of them are still being imported from neighboring countries. This is partly due to the lack of technologies for farmers to produce vegetables throughout the year.

To help scale up vegetable production, the FAO in 2019 disclosed plans to carry out an integrated farming project for vegetable and poultry farmers.

Also, the Government and the United Nations in June 27, 2019, launched a peace-building fund project in the country, aimed at enhancing incomes of vegetable farmers in Bong, and Lofa counties.

Cassava Value Chain

Cassava is the second most important staple for Liberians and, if supported by government, can help to eliminate hunger. But many cassava farmers lack the improved skills and technologies to enhance production.

The National Cassava Sector Coordinating Committee, which has the responsibility to coordinate the activities of cassava producers, is faced with financial constraint to support it members.

Joseph Morris, head of the cassava sector, told stakeholders at one of their meetings that plans are underway by his organization to attract funding from donors to support cassava farmers.

Cocoa and Coffee Value Chain

The introduction of the cocoa and coffee regulations by the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA) was one of the major issues that unfolded in the Cocoa and Coffee Sector. The policies brought about controversy among stakeholders within the sector, calling on LACRA to revise the regulations in the interest of the actors, mainly local exporters.

With consultation with development partners and cocoa stakeholders in December 2019, LACRA changed some provisions of the policies which were subsequently adopted to move the sector forward.

The cocoa and coffee sector is still faced with many challenges. NGOs such as Solidaridad Liberia are working with the government through LACRA to train and provide inputs to several smallholder cocoa and coffee farmers.

Youth involvement in Agriculture

The drive to sustain peace by creating employment for youth is critical for the development of the country. The Government and the United Nations launched a Peace Building Project to keep young people focused through agriculture for income generation.

Conclusion

As the Government considers diversifying the economy through agriculture, more investment is needed to improve the various agriculture value chains and to make young people to find agriculture as a place for employment to promote the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). Our international partners must be encouraged to intensify their supports toward smallholder farmers to enable them produce more.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Kollie,

    Know that when you are groomed within a hardworking family, you grow up with the ethical value of upholding hard work.
    Is it strange to you that the 2019/2020 budget on Agriculture was reduced? For me, it is of no surprise. But thank God that major external partners like FAO are not resting in reminding the GoL to keep up with the Malabo Declaration for Food and Nutrition Security.

    To our (Cummings and apologists) detractors, come 2023, we will raise the annual state budget to minimum 2 billion;
    Fifteen percent (15%) will be set aside for agriculture to put many of our idle youth in suburban communities in Monrovia to work mainly in counties like Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru and Sinoe to disinfest the city, while not forgetting to boost the capacities of our valiant women and men in Lofa, Nimba and Bong through mechanized farming, Yes we can!
    For the first 3 years, 20% will be set aside to revamp the educational system to obtain the required technical skills to start a sustainable development plan that will eventually lead to the industrialization and semi and total manufacturing of some of our local produce and natural resources, Yes we can!

    To you project rogues, you can never implement a project that was not conceived under your expertise and skills. Vote the ANC in 2023 to change lives in Liberia. We can provide more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs within the first 90 days of our brilliant leadership, Yes we can!

    • Mr. Dolo.
      Your wrote : technical skills to start a sustainable development plan”
      I have NOT seen such Skillset with anybody in any of the parties in Liberia. You have stated 100% of what I have being saying; check my 2017 Plateform for Liberia.
      No parties or group has those Skillsets you are talking. I have the best profile over all those Liberia seeking political officies. Do not sound like your Boss or any body in the ANC has any idea about Technic.
      You may joint us.
      Again, Only the the best/better educated with the Needed Know-Hows, Skillsets can move Liberia forward; nobody else.

      • Dear Mr. Curran,

        I am happy you are a Christian. Let’s look at our Bible. Read about some great kings again like Solomon or David. They led their people and nation to prosperity because they revered God and kept his commandments, and so their leadership was blessed.
        Comparatively, let’s look at King Nebuchadnezzar. Under his leadership, there was hunger, torture, total debauch in the morals of the people and rampant corruption in every fabric of Babylon.

        Needless to continue because you know the rest of the story better than me.
        Our problem first and foremost in Liberia is to have a leadership like King Solomon or David.
        Our corrupt religious leadership has always pronounced fallacies under the disguise of (false) prophecies for many kings Nebuchadnezzar in Liberia; from Taylor’s to current leadership. We need a morally clean leadership that will lead us on our knees to plead for the true forgiveness of God. In this way, we can embark on real sustainable development.

        Liberia has so many skilled people; from technocrats to architects. Vote in someone clean like Cummings, forget about tribalism and nepotism lest we continue to dwell in total confusion for generations to come.

        Join our team Sir. Can a nation advance if a Weah can tell a VP Boakai to behave? Food for thought.
        Have a nice weekend!

    • Mr. P. Dolo; LoL! At current exchange rate, L$2 billions is a mere U.S$10 millions; far less than what’s available in Liberia Today’s BUDGET. If you are speaking in terms of U.S$ 2 Billions, I wonder, how will a new administration as yours generate such large sum of 💰 [MONEY] within a very short time??? Please elaborate further. It seems you are saying “IMPOSSIBILITIES”.

      • Mr. Freeman,

        State budgeting doesn’t necessary depend on exchange rates. The 2 billion will be the least annual budget ever implemented. The time frame has nothing to do with it. It is not impossible. Liberia has so many untapped potentials. If you would like to get explanation on how we can do it, question us on the next campaign trail in 2023. But please, beg all presidential aspirants to attend the debate this time, especially Weah. Also, be attentive to what everyone will be proposing.

        Have a nice weekend!

        • Oh PLEASE, give the Liberian people a break. What economic plans and theories Ellen, a Harvard graduate didn’t tell the Liberian people she will do, only to be given the chance to be President of Liberia for 12 years and left the country in a financial deficit.

          The international community gave Liberia a fresh start under Ellen by waiving our debts, Infused more than 2 Billion dollars USD in the Liberian economy under Ellen’s watch, How did she repay Liberia with her Harvard degree and economic plans ? She left Liberia with more than 2 Billion USD debt before leaving office. Also Millions of USD got missing from the Liberian oil company that she took responsibility of and is yet to repay that money to the Liberian Government.

          Liberians are done and tired with BROKERS like you that want to lecture about Economics, They have heard it all, so just find somewhere to sit. They have and will decide to vote in anyone they are pleased with. All of you so called educated Rouges have No moral Character and Integrity, That is what Liberia needs the MOST.

          • Dear Aaron,

            I think today you are in the mood to lead an intellectual debate. I will respond to your post.

            Note that I was never an NPFL and I am not an NPP. If I were, I would have assumed it. Beware of what you write here. You live with former NPFL fighters in your state, they work with your president Weah; from government officials to civil servants and the entire security apparatus. You may fall in trouble or make any of your relatives or family members to fall in trouble from what you write here.
            A hint to the wise is quite sufficient!

            Back to our debate, I will once more underscore here that I am NOT an Ellen supporter. I respect her for living up to her dream. She is a mother; she deserves respect in disaccord.

            I will agree with you that Ellen could have been our Kagame of Rwanda if she were not involved in war. She had to pay her bills and so I did not expect much from her. To avoid the 12 years she spent, which you consider wasted but which I think was not all wasted, we proposed a very brilliant roadmap to Weah in 2005.
            Look Aaron, I know and agree Weah dearly loves Liberia. But leadership requires some intellectual, mental and philosophical molding of minds. Easy things will be difficult for Weah, believe me. He will be gullible to the slightest first “sweet tongue” to mislead the people he so loves.

            Billions came in and millions got missing under Ellen. We couldn’t have gone in that line if we had buried tribalism and nepotism (your staunch friends) to collectively forge ahead to entrusting our country to neutral people that would have cried sincerely to God for forgiveness of our sins before embarking on any sustainable developmental plans. Innocent blood is crying out to God in Liberia. There is total confusion everywhere. The people who caused the mayhem are still there mocking and spiritually tormenting the innocent blood. Do you think Weah himself can do something in such “Jurassic Park’? Let’s wait and see.

            I agree that Liberia does not need broke politicians, that’s why I support Cummings. He is not only rich but also morally clean and intellectually prepared to begin sustainable development in Liberia. His vice president will also be clean, as was the case for the 2017 election. His cabinet will equally be mostly clean. Unfortunately, lawmakers will default but with time, the system will be purified.

            Don’t be scared. Let go of tribalism and nepotism brother. Weah will worsen things for Liberians. Maybe you just got to know him, but I knew him when he was very young and was nicknamed “Slippery” for his dribbling skills. I once played football with him. He usually spent vacations in our community with his grandmother then. I don’t hate him, but for the common interests of Liberians, he is not the right man at the right time.

            Stop abusing me here! Whenever I say something which upsets you, ask me for my phone in your inbox, then call me up and use all your vituperative expressions on me. I may visit the USA sometimes this year but not Minneapolis, I can contact you for you to box me up, if you wish to bloody me. But know that I am an opposition to Weah. I will criticize him until he leaves, bear that in mind.

            I love you brother! God loves you, and Liberia needs you!

  2. Very good analysis from Mr. Kollie. It brings us to the conversation that is been held behind close doors from the 1980s todate. That is the comparative advantage for Rice Production in Liberia. The Writer said ” NOTHING IS BEEN DONE TO INCREASE THE PRODUCTION OF RICE TO MEET DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION IN ORDER TO REDUCE IMPORTATION”. This is a powerful statement because its a policy issue. We all agreed that the level of local production is low but do we want to reduce importation? Economists are divided on this. Some will argue that it is cheaper to import a bag of high quality rice into Liberia than it will to produce and process that same bag in Liberia. That is if Liberia spent USD 200 Million annually on rice Import with Government contributing USD 8 Million, it may cost USD 300 Million annually to get and keep Liberia self-sufficient in Rice production. So the problem is more of Economic than production. That is why I support the Malabo Declaration that required 10 % Government annual budgetary support to the sector. However, the 10 % can all not go into rice production. Finally, let the conversation of the 1980s start again and thanks to Kollie for the starter.

  3. My brother Nelson Sr.,
    How are you?
    Since you said it is ridiculous to put the horse before the cart, I would like to do the opposite. I will put cart before the horse. Maybe the horse will surprise all of us by pushing the cart through the checkout counter. I am broke. Darn! But, I will step into the Liberian political arena. No, I will not enter the presidential contest. Someone is there already. It’s a 99.9% possibility that the gentleman who is there will run again. There are other interesting areas that I will explore.

    Campaign Motto:
    Choose Between Business As Usual and Business As Of Now!

    Ladies and gentlemen, as an agent of change, I represent the present and the future. If you vote for me, you’re voting for “business as of now”.

    I need your support!

    • Mr. Hney,
      You stated on one of these posts that I have many titles?
      1. Well…. All my degrees are true and clean. I studied in Gernany; NOT the USA; not against the USA.
      2. I have researched and improved atleast 90+% of our Native RiceFarm Processes (NOT agriculture). I know the about country rice cutting which is 100% nof efficient.
      3. Liberia is very illiterate, functionally illiterate. Nobody in Liberia is doing agriculture; we MUST learn how to think; a statement for those who think Liberian in the hinterland live from agriculture.
      4. The economy of Liberia will never move forward below industrial activities of which Liberia has no ideas.
      Again check my 2017 Presidential Platform it was, is the best until next time.

      • Dear Mr. Curran,

        Could you tell us on what basis/bases you always profess that your platform was the best in the 2017 election?
        I agree that Liberians have NEVER voted based on platforms or manifestos, but could you tell us if your platforms were vetted in any way by a neutral or independent body? Have you ever been earmarked or invited by a recognized national or international body or organization to speak on your platform anywhere?

        We agree with you on the industrialization policy of Liberia but not the way you preach it here. Join, preferably the Cummings’ team.
        A team complex has always proven worthwhile than a star complex. No one man knows all. Join our (Cummings and apologists) team.

        The agriculture you always preach and uphold can NEVER happen in Liberia without well-defined government industrialization policy. It means there will be subsidies on some machinery, tools and inputs entering the country as well as inciting tax policy.

        Join a winning team. Stop wasting your time on this platform with vain condemnation. We need you on board.

        Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Snr. Brother Hney,

      I’m doing great, My regards to you and your family.

      You got me cracking up mehn. That was good. I think we all have our days where we get too serious about some issues that we really don’t have control over. One thing I’m grateful for is that, unlike the days of the civil conflict where some of us didn’t have a choice or say about what was going on in Liberia as compare to now where we can voice out or disagree with anyone or any ideas that will bring destruction to Liberia make me to feel really good.

      At least I know if I disagree with something in Liberia that will affect my relatives, I’m prepared and can do something about it.

      I like your campaign msg. Hahahaha and You got my vote.

  4. Pete Curran,
    What I wrote regarding your titles was a jape! Don’t let that grow under your thick skin man. You can have as many titles as you want, it doesn’t bother me one bit. But please be reminded. Like me, you poked fun at something that I had written earlier. If you will recall, I mentioned the joke you threw at me. Check yours out for verification.

    Mr.Curran, I personally like your political independence! You don’t seem to be the type of person who is indomitable. Unlike you, politicians in Liberia are like a chaff that can be burned or blown away easily. During presidential seasons, some corrupt presidential candidates do not campaign at least two miles away from their home. Don’t even bother to say some candidates do not campaign in the counties other than theirs. But when it looks like they do not stand a chance to win a village or a town, they immediately get into the business of endorsement. Why do presidential candidates endorse their colleagues? That’s because they want jobs, jobs, jobs. Lastly, because of the chicanery of Liberian politicians who endorse, we’ve got political appointees who perform their duties below par. Appointees are not usually properly vetted. Just show your degree, experience no experience, that’s it. That’s why we’ve got too many incompetent appointees. It didn’t start under Weah!

    Additionally, you seem to be a hot political potato!, (this is another jest). I say that because it’s obvious. The Cummings apologists are interested in you, buddy. From my recollection, they asked you to jump in their camponce before. But you mightily snubbed them. Do you remember? But still, their insistence to get you situated in the Cummings’ orbit seems unstoppable. I’m not your adviser. But I will say this….. maintain your independence attitude. Unless you want a job, please don’t get into the endorsement game.

    Lastly, it’s okay for campaign workers (which is what the apologists really are) to put up fliers, discuss the issues of their candidate professionally and maintain civility. But in recent weeks or months, some campaign workers have become what Sigmund Freud was, pscyhoanalists in name only, not in practice. Example, just recently, a campaign worker suggested that a potential voter should see a psychiatrist pretty soon. That kind of language is uncalled for. As a campaign worker, you do not argue, but rather you maintain a line of civility always.

    Mr. Curran, as we await 2023, do the most honorable thing. Instruct your campaign workers to be unflappable! Also tell your campaign workers not to pretend to know everything. A potential candidate and his or her campaign workers who brag about knowing everything a nation needs dealing in falsehoods. It’s all gobbledygook!

  5. Dr. Mogana S. Flomo,Jr. was the best person to have remained over the Agriculture sector and improve the area making Liberia becomes self sufficient in food security. He has the vision and the tactical skills to contribute to the growth of the economy using the Agriculture. I hope Bong County people can provide him the opportunity to serve in the Senate comes December 8,2020. If any county can emerge to become the bread basket in this twentieth first century, like was with Lofa, it needs to start with Bong County under the leadership of Dr. Mogana S. Flomo, Jr.

    His work at the Ministry of Agriculture demonstrated that he has passion to help Liberia becomes self sufficient in food security. His days at the Ministry, he developed the food safety policy, plant protection policy, fertilizer policy and seed importation policy. He was heavily engaged with farmers across Liberia empowering them to invest into the soil.

    Thank you Kollie for the note, well informative and educative

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