MOA, UNDP, CI Launch Good Growth Partnership

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Participants and officials posed at the launch of the GGP in Monrovia.

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Conservation International (CI) as well as other partners have partnered a “High-level launch of the Good Growth Partnership (GGP). The program was launched recently, at the Ministry in Gardnersville.

The program which was held under the theme, “Taking Deforestation Out of Commodity Supply Chains”, is aimed at presenting the GGP an ambitious effort to place sustainability at the heart of commodity production.

The Good Growth Partnership is initiated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and is currently led by the United Nations Development Program  (UNDP’s)  Green Commodities Program which is in strong collaboration with Conservation International, the International Finance Corporation, the UN Environment and World Wildlife Fund for Nature. the program concentrates on advancing an integrated, supply chain approach to tackling the underlying root causes of deforestation from the production of agriculture commodities in Liberia especially palm oil.

The approach also consists of linked projects covering production demands, transaction and knowledge management and learning. The production project, according to the MOA will contribute to addressing the challenges by concentrating on the production of one of the main commodities driving these worrisome trends:  Palm oil, this project which runs for the period of five years is expected to phase out in 2021.

The project will also focus on sustainable oil palm production in at least in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount Gbarpolu, and Bong Counties. In Liberia, Good Growth Partnership (GGP) is building on the work of the government as well as implementing partners, to systematically change the way oil palm is being produced in the country to a modernized form.

The aim of this is to also encourage and increase productivity without expanding into the forest. According to the MOA this will further be achieved through convening diverse stakeholders around a common vision and agenda for action- a National Oil Palm Strategy; and supporting the Liberian government to fortify its support to farmers and to reform laws, policies as well as enforcement systems.

The project will also strengthen one national platform in Liberia and establish on the landscape – a level forum to ensure stakeholders’ participation, dialogue and approval, enable inter-agency and multi-sector action in the oil palm sector of the country.

The launch of the project is going to highlight the outcome, management system, and implementation arrangements as well as the associated approach to meet the goals of the sustainable oil palm production in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the Project Manager of GGP Ronald Cumberbatch said transforming the key commodity supply chain is essential to the growth of and development of the initiative and as such it has the potential to significantly reduce deforestation and stem climate change.

Cumberbatch stated that the GGP will, therefore, build on the work of the government as well as implementing partners to ensure that the outcome of the project is achieved.  “Farmers support systems and agri-inputs, land use plans and maps in targeted landscapes and knowledge management,” he said.

UNDP Country Director Pa Lamin Beyai said agriculture is expected to contribute significantly to the priority of this plant (palm), mainly in terms of poverty reduction, food security, unemployment and increase household income.

Unfortunately, according to the UNDP official,  over the years the contribution of agriculture to Liberia’s economic growth and development has been limited to around 26 percent which he said is due to inadequate policies and many other constraints.  “We at UNDP strongly believe that this project will provide solutions through interventions of all stakeholders; we should be optimistic because the output from the oil palm is encouraging.”

The Good Growth Partnership program which targets major challenges the sector faces will help to promote collective efforts for change in the process of developing a national oil palm strategy and action plan. It will also provide a roadmap to guide investment and activities for sustainable oil palm production.

Jessica Donovan said as a founding member of the Oil Palm Technical Working group, Conservation International is proud to be part of the project that will help the sector achieve its goals for sustainable palm oil production.   “We look forward to contributing to the national strategy, working with UNDP, the government of Liberia and all other key stakeholders,” she stressed.

“We also look forward to joining the dialogue on stakeholder engagement, smallholders, and out-growers and finally, in helping to demystify the issues around High Carbon Stock and High Conservation Value definitions and set-aside at the national level.”

According to a release, the Good Growth Partnership is being implemented in Liberia at a cost of US$2 million.

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