A source who preferred to remain anonymous has raised concern over the delay by President George Weah to appoint a new minister of agriculture, something the source said could somehow stall opportunities for agricultural development in the country.
“We don’t know the main reason why the President has delayed to appoint a new minister. It may have the propensity to someway stall agricultural development.”
Our source said that major agriculture discussions or agreements can only be negotiated with a minister proper.
“I am with the understanding that the World Bank has provided several loans to support projects that are meant to enhance the productivity of smallholder farmers which have been ratified by the 54th Legislature. Such intervention require a qualified minister to keenly monitor the implementation of these projects for the benefit of the country,” the source told our reporter.
Our source further said although the government has made available US$2 million as direct support toward smallholder farmers, while other monies that are coming from external sources such as the World Bank have increased the support for agriculture.
“The Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PAPD) must be aligned with all the donor funding and this is why we need a technical person to head the Ministry who can work with the Ministries of Finance and of Commerce,” the source said.
According to our source, many smallholder farmers across the country are in need of serious assistance to enhance production, but Government lack the resources, adding that the donor funding will greatly help.
“We are appealing to the President to speedily appoint a new agriculture minister,” our source further cautioned.
It can be recalled that in June 2019, President George Weah dismissed former agriculture minister, Dr. Mogana Flomo and, up to current, has yet to appoint a new minister.
Former Minister Flomo was the first minister of agriculture appointed in the Weah Administration and is on record for declaring agriculture a pivotal sector to the country’s struggling economy.
Around the same time, the President also dismissed his director-general of the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Dr. Marcus Jones.
The President, during a recent talk show on local radio, indicated that his administration is still in search of a new minister.
“We would like to have a new minister of agriculture but we preferred someone who is practical, meaning a minister with technical knowledge of agriculture or he or she is involved in some agriculture activities.
With the issue of inflation and other economic hardships facing the country, allegations of corruption, as well as increasing political tension, the President further told the radio talk show that his administration is taking measures to fix the economy.
Meanwhile, President Weah has called on Liberians both at home and in the diaspora to invest in to agriculture.
He disclosed plans to shortly embark on a nationwide tour to acquaint himself with the work of the agriculture ministry in the various counties.