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China re-opens agriculture center in Suakoko

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The China-Liberia Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center has reopened in Bong County afterabrupt closure last year due to the Ebola crisis.

The Center laid its foundation in 2008 and completed in June 2010 with technical operation started in 2011 by 12 Chinese at the Central Agricultural Research Institute or CARI, in Suakoko District to help improve the agriculture sector of Liberia.

Officially reopening the Center over the weekend, the General Manager of the Lonpeng High-Tech Fang Yuanxiang, who spoke through his Vice General Manager, Kobe Zhang, said the abrupt closure was due to the deadly Ebola Virus Disease that engulfed the country in 2014, leading to the deaths of many people, including health workers.

The Center that is highly noted by many as the gateway to the improvement of agriculture in Liberia is under the nomenclature Liberia Longping Agriculture Development Company Limited. It was reopened to the country at the Central Agriculture Research Institute in Suakoko recently in the presence of major stakeholders.

According to statistics, since the establishment of the Center by the Chinese agriculture technicians, there have been numerous training opportunities for several Liberians in the areas of animal husbandry, machine operation and other agriculture related exercises.

Earlier giving an overview of the initiative at a one-day stakeholders’ consultative meeting, the interim team leader at CARI, Aaron Garway Marshall, welcomed the Chinese back to the district. He said the departure of the Chinese was due to the rampant spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the country and assured the CARI’s family stands ready to working with the Chinese for an improved society.

Mr. Marshall at the same time appealed to the Center heads to explore more visible agriculture initiatives in the County particularly, in the Kpatawee area, appealing to the Chinese to prioritize tilling of the soil for the production of more food in Liberia.

For his part, the newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zinah, lauded the Chinese for being far-sighted in their endeavors. Minister Zinah promised to closely work with citizens of Suakoko and the entire Bong County to improve food production.

He stressed the importance of investing in food and promised to support the Chinese in their endeavor to make the country self-sufficient in food. The Center is a major research and training ground for Liberians venturing into agricultural activities. It contains machineries such as tractors, hand rollers, rice mills and other essential equipment for agriculture productivity.

The program was graced by several officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and local government officials, who commended the Chinese highly for re-opening the facility.

By Papa Morris in Bong – Edited by Jonathan Browne

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