‘We Want Solidaridad West Africa to Rehabilitate Our Cocoa farms in Grand Kru’

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Local cocoa farmers appealing to Solidaridad West- Africa to help rehabilitate cocoa farms in Buah District, Grand Kru County

Dehjlaa’s CEO Appeals

Barely 2 weeks after the signing ceremony of a partnership agreement between Solidaridad West Africa and the European Union (EU), for the implementation of a Cocoa Value Chain Development Program (COVADEP) in Southeast Liberia, an agro-resource company, “Dehjlaa” has appealed to Solidaridad West- Africa and other partners to help rehabilitate cocoa farms in Buah District, Grand Kru County.

The EU and Solidaridad- West Africa partnership agreement seeks to implement a four-year program worth US$4 million, of which Solidaridad is expected to provide US$1 million as an initial contribution to the sector.

The four-year intervention, according to the project, will seek to reduce poverty by increasing incomes as well as improve the livelihood, resilience and competitiveness of the Liberia Cocoa sector.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dehjlaa, Gbenimah Balu Slopadoe, informed the Daily Observer that the company has cultivated 50 to 60 acres of land in Buah district, Grand Kru County.

“We have observed that since the end of the civil war, NGOs have intervened in this area to carry on rehabilitation, which he said is not good for the farmers who are into the production of cocoa. It is an agro- resource company that involve with tree crops, cash crops such as cocoa and vegetable crops”, Slopadoe said.

According to him, his company is currently focusing its activities in the southeastern counties. “We have been deprived for so many years due to bad road conditions.”

He also noted that they have been able to undertake a project under the auspices of the company where they recently launched what he called ‘Cocoa Rehabilitation Project’ in the Buah district.

Mr. Slopadoe also said his entity has incorporated more than 23 volunteers who are willing to get into cocoa farming, considering the level of work that they have done and want to do as a company.

“We need Solidaridad’s intervention in order to increase our production and that is why we want them to help rehabilitate our farmlands,” Mr Slopadoe noted.

“We learned about Solidaridad West Africa and  their role in this sector. They build the capacity of small of farmers who are into Cocoa production and, as such, we think their intervention will make a significant impact to the people of Grand Kru,” he said.

He said cocoa is an investment. Therefore, investment into it yields a return. Over the years, he added, the people of Buah District have never gotten any return because of the bad road condition.

However, Mr. Slopadoe used the occasion to call on the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture and other international partners to come to the aid of local farmers in the area.

Meanwhile, Mr. Slopadoe has disclosed that Dehjlaa will soon commence felling trees on 100 acres of farm already brushed in Buah. The stationary farm will engage in multi-cropping — upland for tree crops, tubular, vegetables, cattle, poultry and lowland for rice production. The farm will be used to train farmers to become entrepreneurs under the slogan: “feed your family, grow what you eat.”

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