Another protest at CARI
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan
Workers at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) are staging another protest, in response to CARI Director General Dr. Victor Sumo’s apparent failure on his promise to settle their salary harmonization problems.
The aggrieved workers staged a protest at the CARI facility on Monday, 1 August 2022, several months after Dr. Sumo promised to settle their salary harmonization problems.
This new protest is triggered by the inability of the Institute to allegedly pay salaries.
The workers alleged that while CARI has not paid their salaries, Dr. Sumo has allegedly hired contractors to do their jobs, an action they see as a ‘complete disrespect.’
The aggrieved workers stated that the Director General has allegedly refused to address their petition which details their interest about the untold suffering the government’s salary harmonization has brought upon them.
They also accused Bong County Electoral District #3 Representative Marvin Cole of being a part of the problem at CARI.
Instead of pushing the interest of the entity, the protesters alleged, Rep. Cole is defending Dr. Sumo who has allegedly turned CARI to a ground of frustration for poor labor workers.
The District #3 Representative has denied the allegations stating that he intends to see a better CARI and not what is being insinuated.
According to him, Dr. Sumo is doing extremely well with little resources from the Liberian government.
The Lawmaker has however promised to help solve the problem at CARI by lobbying for more funds to settle the salary issues which according to him would restore calm at the institute.
Dr. Sumo on the other hand has not responded to any of the allegations despite being declared as persona-non-grata by the protesters. Persona-non-grata is an unacceptable or unwelcome person.
CARI Historical Background
The Central Agricultural Research Institute located in Suakoko, some 180 km north‐west of Monrovia, was created in 1980 from the Central Agricultural Experiment Station (CARES).
CARI was created to conduct both adaptive and applied research in agriculture. In the 1980s, the Institute had seven commodity – based programs (rice, cassava, cattle, swine, cocoa, coffee and vegetables) and planning had been initiated for a cropping systems programme (Francis et al., 1995).
However, CARI was devastated by the civil war both in human and physical terms. The physical infrastructure was severely damaged, the contents of buildings looted, and professional and technical staff scattered both in‐country and abroad and in some instances killed.
CARI restarted very limited operations in 2006, focusing on the provision of planting materials for rice (from WARDA), cassava, yams and a limited range of cultivars of maize, beans and soybeans (from IITA) (Ministry of Agriculture, 2008) a focus which has continued with little change to date.
On the other hand, various initiatives have been mooted since 2007 to re‐vitalize CARI but so far progress has been extremely limited.–Edited by Winston W. Parley