Taa Wongbe Rallies Foreign Investors Interest in Rice Production for Liberia

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-Seeks private sector and government’s involvement

Taa Wongbe, a senatorial candidate hopeful in Nimba County for the pending December 8 Special Senatorial Election across Liberia, has begun negotiation with a top business tycoon in the United States of America to consider investing his money into rice farming in Liberia so as to curtail the hundred percent importation of the country’s staple food, rice.

In a podcast on his Facebook account, Wongbe said his push for Liberia to make a significant gain in reducing the one hundred percent importation of rice into the country is void of politics.

“Well, I know thoughts get twisted by people but my wish to rally the support of a few financially well-off persons here in America is intended to help my country. In fact, for those who know me well, I have a farm in Liberia. I  grow rice and other crops in Nimba annually but in order for us to do it on a large scale we need lots of support,” he said.

Although he did not mention the name of the millionaire he is appealing to, to visit Liberia and consider exploring ideas on locally producing rice for the country, he expressed confidence that if the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)’s led government provides the space, Liberia can succeed in instituting and securing food security.

He boasted that he has friends in America and other parts of the world who have enough money.  Some of them are millionaires who would love to invest in large scale rice farming in Liberia but also wish for fair playing ground, including better security.

Presently, the country imports fourteen million (14,000,000) 25 kg bags of rice annually at the cost of US$200 million, thereby leading the country to more poverty rather than raising it to self-sufficiency radar.

“Many people don’t like our rice. This is why we need local producers to come together and invest in an awareness campaign. At this stage, we don’t need the government’s involvement. When people appreciate their own rice and recognize the value it has, they will do their best by working harder,” Wongbe said.

He added that while investors are needed to boost the sector, the government needs to consider subsidizing small farm holders.

“If the government can consider cutting the US$200,000,000 by US$15,000,000 and assign that amount to subsidize local rice production; it is possible for the same government to generate US$20 to 30 million or more in revenue collection from the same farmers,” he analyzed.

According to him, if the government considers using US$15,000,000 of the US$200,000,000 used for the importation of rice on supporting local farms, the price of rice will possibly drop to at least US$10 per 25 kg bag of rice.

“This will bring about competition with imported rice. This will give us the compelling advantage we need in the sector and more jobs will be created for the many unemployed people in the country. It will reduce the overwhelming search for government jobs and give food security to people in the faraway rural parts of the country,” Wongbe noted.

He recommended that should his idea be considered by the CDC-led government and the general farming population of the country, construction of rice hubs in all of the 15 counties for people to easily clean their rice and get their rice ready for the market would be of great help.

“Lo, this is completely void of politics. I am not campaigning for a political seat. What I am discussing here concerns us all and for too long many other people have spoken in the same direction but the action is yet to be taken in order to get Liberia to a food security status,” he continued.

He said, in the U.S., the government subsidizes local rice farmers and upon harvesting, the farmers pay taxes to the government, thereby allowing the sector to remain stable and irreversible.

Wongbe noted that in order for the country to relieve itself from the continuous dependency syndrome, practical actions must be taken rather than relying on only theories.

“When there is sufficient food and less expensive for people to afford, poverty takes on a new dimension. Life cannot be so complex as it is now. This is why we should revolutionize the agriculture sector in the country,” he said.

Liberia’s fiscal budget for 2019/2020 has in its two percent or a little over US$10 million for agriculture, thereby leading to more flops than gains in the sector due to the smallness of the amount.

Taa Wongbe is an executive member of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) of businessman turned politician, Alexander Benedict Cummings.

ANC is a member of the four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), including the former ruling Unity Party (UP), the Liberty Party (LP), the All Liberian Party (ALP) of businessman turned politician, Benoni Wilfred Urey.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Another political fairy tale. All politicians seeking elected offices know foreign investors in far away lands with lots of money . But right there in the slum capital of Liberia , there are banks willing to lend out money. The same thing said about George, why didn’t you build your multi million complexes before becoming President ? So why couldn’t you bring in the foreign investors with lots of money until you decided to be Senator ? Come on man, illiteracy is very high in the country. Stop the fool’s education. You got it right, that James Davis was going to twist all that were said by you. It just was not impressive. Try again, and this time be for real. Those people you are asking for the votes , no matters how illiterate they are, they are hurting and seeking meaningful and truthful directions. So starts from the beginning. Ok ?

    • The government of Liberia is just too corrupt for any serious investment. Liberia has a very bad international image so you guys can dream all you want…

  2. Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist: Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator 2017-Independent Presidential Candidate)

    Almost all the Liberian groups are saying the same? They went to school but not able to do anything?
    They are all very funny. Nobody will come to Liberia and work for you for free. It is better you grow your food inorder to have jobs.

  3. Greetings, Mr. Curran.
    How I always like to read your thoughts and a great love for what you stand for. There is one thing you need to day Sir: Join the ANC!
    In a political party, there are divergent views on how policies are channeled. That’s why there are different political streams within a political party, reason for some of us pushing for the primary system.

    Your views on the sustainable development of Liberia do not differ in anyway from that of the ANC.
    Leave the star syndrome and be willing to accept harsh criticisms within a group; in so doing we can achieve our common objectives for Liberia in every sector.
    Once again, I beckon you to take up the ANC partisan card. You will be the cause of me coming to Lofa because I really admire you Sir, seriously speaking.
    I sense wisdom, knowledge, experience and innovation in everything you say. Please join a team and don’t try to become a star.

    My respect, big brother!

    • Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist: Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator 2017-Independent Presidential Candidate)

      Thanks Mr. Dolo.

      Tell the ANC to join us.
      We will have a group that will have resume,Trade, Skillsets, Training, Know-Hows, Education, etc to lead our people. We believe in High quality Resources always.
      God bless Liberia.

  4. How I wish you were compassionate, how I wish you were sincere but I fear so deeply as these words or such a proposal had been designed n presented to Liberian by uncompassionate politicians. We hopefully voted them, but they hopelessly lied to us. Even you Sir, if you failed tomorrow posterity will judge you. Be a man of your words.

  5. Rice is a political commodity. No one can think that they can do mechanized farming in rice production to “curtail” importation of rice. It’s not possible. The government of the day gets benefit from the trade.

  6. Finally, Chief Engineer, Pete Curran has caught up with the persuasive tactics of the ANC’s Permanent Representative, Hon. Petarus Dolo.

    PR = Petarus Dolo

    CE = Pete Curran

    ….. The Exercise….

    PR…Pete Curran, we have a big tent. Come on board with the ANC. We need your Skill-sets.

    CE….. No, I do not fit under the ANC tent.

    PR….. Why Pete? We like your policies. Please join our party. We will offer you a prestigious position at the Ministry of Agriculture. Come on board.

    CE…… Hey gentleman, I told you no way. I mean it. If you ask me to join your party one more time, I will expose the weaknesses of your party, the ANC.

    PR…… Please, Pete. I have been trying hard to recruit you. Don’t dash my efforts in the ditch.

    CE…..Dolo, you’re getting on my last nerve. Tell you what man…go ahead and renounce your shameful party, which is the ANC. Once you do that, come to me. My arms are open. I will offer you a job as Minister of Pollution, Tropical Rainforest & Persuasion.

    PR…. Get serious, comrade Curran. I have never heard about a Ministerial position such as the one you intend to offer. Will I really, really be offered such a Ministerial position?

    CE…….Yep. But I have to ask you this question….. when was the last time you spoke to Alexander Cummings?

    PR …… I haven’t seen him in person, neither have I spoken to him on the phone. Cummings doesn’t text me neither do I bother to text him. But we’re buddies!

    CE….. Right Dolo. Come and join my organization. You will see me. You will text and I will not hesitate to text you. I will show you how my skill-sets work. I have 150 beautiful educated girls in my organization. They will teach you about my skill-sets. When you get on board, please keep your eyes away from my girls. They wear lappa, so I refer to them as lappa-lonians.

    PR….. Can I discuss something with one of them?

    CE….Look at you. If you are not serious, don’t come. But yes, if you act right, you may discuss something with any one of them.

    PR….. Dr. Pete, your offer appetizes me. But I am committed to someone already. I might come. I have been unable to recruit someone.

    CE…. Come and join my organization. You struggle a whole lot. You’ve been unable to recruit a soul. The ANC is plagued with all sorts of problems. How can you lead Liberia when you’ve got a multitude of unsolvable conundrums?

    PR…. Goodnight Pete.
    Yeh… Goodnight Dolo.

  7. Kudos for your creative writing style, affectionate virtual big brother Hney!
    After cheerfully reading through 3 times, it has enlighten me and made my day. However, I would like to first reply another affectionate virtual big brother.

    Mr. Curran,

    Your advocacy for a group with the right resume, trade, skillsets, training, know-hows education, etc. to lead our country is indeed commendable.
    I am in FULL support of this mindset, believe me big brother!

    You often rebuke our current rulership for not wanting to spend at least 16 years on the bench in school but yearning to have a developed country, I am in total agreement with such lashing out.
    You blast them for depending on foreign human capital to give us a city like Paris yet they do not know what it entails, I salute you for that.
    You frown to see useful resources being pumped into the thin air through imaginary or short-lived projects without the rightful resumes, I have always echoed alongside your deception.

    In short, I agree with everything you stand for. I respect your professional background and the country from which you were trained. I understand and agree with everything you say on this blog.
    However, there is one lesson I would like you to learn from your little brother today: In a village, when you are alone, as strong as you can be, you can never clear more than 5 acres of land to farm per year. But when married with at least 2 grownup children, you can even clear 10 acres per year. But if you apply the ingenuity of our parents in the village by joining a “coup”, you can even clear 20 acres. That’s why having large families then was a source of riches in our traditional African setting.

    You went to the last elections like the LONE giant; you did not have a team to define policies in different fields but was only putting forth your intellectual achievements. You know the results, right?
    If you have learnt your lesson and have now come up with a group, start making the group known now. Don’t tell me “We will have a group that will……”. Are you waiting for the dawn of 2023 to form a group? What serious group can you form then?

    It is high time people of your caliber identify with a group, integrate it and begin intellectual debates on every sector, then earmark potential individuals as possible candidates to spearhead each ministry and agency. If not, you may win and not have a team to rule, consequently you may be a big failure like past juntas.

    In 2017, people identified with one individual within the ANC and gave him 7%. Now, people are identifying with a group called ANC with current poll standing at 20%. Your presence alone represents at least 5,000 electorates from Lofa, believe me.
    All sectors but the military need rethinking and remodeling in Liberia.

    God will NEVER bless Liberia if people like you stand by and do NOTHING! For God to bless Liberia as you wish, join a team with a people of moral probity and reverence for the Almighty.
    A star may shine as bright as it can, but it can NEVER brighten as compared to a cluster of them.

    Have a nice weekend, big brother Curran!

    Cher grand frère Hney,

    Seriously, I don’t like unnecessary titles. Why have you started calling me “Honorable”? I am a poor guy from a lowly background, I do not deserve the title you bestow on me, please.
    I derived the name “Petarus” myself, but my parents named me Peter.
    I used to like playing scrabble and so my scrabble name was Taurus. At a certain time, I blended both names (Peter and Taurus = Petarus).
    Call me any of those names, I am NOT an honorable, Sir!

    My admiration for Mr. Curran is the same for you. I have not seen any of you but both of you augur wisdom, knowledge, experience and moral probity. I don’t need to know you personally before guessing. I have read you a lot.
    It is against this same background I support Alexander B. Cummings. Both of you do not differ with him in any way, but maybe who to pilot the boat may be the problem but I see no ideological differences.
    What sometimes astonishes me about you is your support for the mundanity and social human plague we currently have in Liberia. From what it stems, I am yet to know the day we meet face-to-face.

    Liberia needs you too. If you have any qualms with Cummings, sweep them under the rug and look at the bigger picture; Liberia!

    Have a nice weekend, big brother Hney!

  8. Mon petite frere, Peter “Tarus” Petarus Dolo,

    I am very sorry to hear that you abhor the distinguished title of “Honorable”. Because of your unwavering support of the ANC party, I thought it was about time that you got rewarded with a distinguished title. Okay Sir! (I am not sure if the word “Sir” will be acceptable to you). If you’re unhappy with the salutation “Sir”, pardon! I will have no recourse but to refer to you once again as an apologist. Maybe the moniker “apologist” is more appropriate. Well, I guess I will find out soon.

    Scrabble player?
    Do you need a Scrabble? If yes, furnish your address. By His grace, I will faithfully buy and mail one or two to you. I mean it.

  9. Hi Hney,

    Yes indeed, I was a very good scrabble player.
    Thanks a million for your offer but I hardly play these days because I do not have the person (low skilled players) to play with and the time too.
    Whenever I have the urge to play, I go online (International Scrabble Club) to play with great players around the globe. And the last time I played was about 4 years ago.

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