Mrs. Pinky Bemah Goll, a farmer, is seeking to boost agriculture and tourism in the mangrove swamp along the Robertsfield Highway, Montserrado County, as part of her stake in the Liberian economy. Therefore, she is seeking partnership from the public or private sector.
With support from her family, she bought 100 acres of land where she has planted a variety of crops, and has planned to construct modern facilities for recreation purposes.
Goll told the Daily Observer during a tour of her property over the weekend, that the initiative will create employment for the community and significantly contribute to the country’s economy.
“Farming is my area of interest as my father and grandparents were farmers. But when I lived in the United States of America, I got to learn the importance of tourism. And so upon my return to Liberia, I started the ‘Mangrove Paradise’ to boost the tourism trade and agriculture,” Madam Goll said.
She explained how the entire area was a complete forest in 2007, “but with my meager resources, I began to transform the area, and today, it is taking the face of a real business center to attract customers.”
The Mangrove Paradise is an island on the Du River, just off the Robertsfield Highway. From the highway, a dirt road opposite the Baptist Theological Seminary leads to the river, at which point one must take a 10 minute canoe ride to the island. Once there, the island — a work in progress — offers breathtaking views and serenity, exotic fauna and flora, as well as juicy pineapple and other produce from the ground.
According to Madam Goll, she initially invested US$35,000 to develop the farm and constructed few buildings to host visitors. However, she said, taking into consideration her project masterplan, it will cost her about US$2 million to transform the entire area into an attractive tourist center, something she said will require partnership from interested individuals to make the dream a reality.
“Tourism on this river will contribute greatly to the economy, because it will promote agriculture and tourism since we will sell wild cherries and pineapple juices to restaurant and hotel owners in Monrovia to raise income,” she said.
“When the place is transformed as I have perceived it,” Madam Goll continued, “people from nearby villages will earn income by transporting visitors to the site by canoes to avoid traveling on foot on long distances to transact businesses.
Like any other business center, the Mangrove Paradise is not free of challenges such as the lack of farming implements and pest control to maximize her farm’s produce.
“I have cultivated 10 acres of lowland and 20 acres of upland with improved rice varieties, as well as over 1000 seedlings of pineapple that are harvested during the farming season,” she said.
While Madam Goll said she is striving to succeed, she is seeking partnership with well-meaning individuals to make her dream a reality.
“We would like to seek the assistance of the government or interested individuals to buttress our efforts because we believe that this vision can become a reality, provided we can secure the necessary finances,” she said.
Meanwhile, Madam has called on the authority at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to arrest individuals who are constantly reportedly destroying the river at the Mangrove Paradise.
“There are some unscrupulous individuals who are engage in using dynamite to kill the fish in the river,” she said, requesting authorities of the EPA to intervene and put an end to the situation.