As Liberia falls in global rubber production, the Minister of Agriculture Jeannie Cooper says cocoa is the future for the county’s economy and government is now taking measures and interest in investing more resources in the sector.
Addressing a recent workshop Monrovia, Minister Cooper notes that the cocoa sector is gradually taking over and could become a major boom for the economy, rallying farmers and partners to work together in moving the sector forward.
He describes the sector as a shining star, saying, “Since I came to office, we have some people producing chocolate in Liberia at its superior quality. The sector is ready to industrialize in Liberia despite all the challenges.” A day-long meeting to discuss prospects and challenges facing the cocoa sector was held over the weekend.
According to Minister Cooper, the meeting sought to reactivate the cocoa sector platform, a multi-disciplinary platform that bring together donors, processors, exporters and farmers.
Former Montserrado County lawmaker currently president of the Farmers Union Network, Josephine Francis George, stresses the need for better coordination amongst policymakers and players in the sector.
Madam George points to concern about existing cocoa trees that have been around since the 70s and loss of interest by farmers’ children since in fact, most farmers are aging.
“Most of the trees in Liberia are very old and because of that most of them are developing low production. The farmers are old, and their children have gone to venture in other sectors of life. Can we rehabilitate these trees? We have LACRA, we have CARI, the Ministry of Agriculture we need a good coordination and not reinventing the wheel”, she underscores.
She calls for training of graduates from the College of Agriculture and Forestry from the University of Liberia to jumpstart the process, noting that cocoa is a low hanging fruit and there are good chocolate companies who want to do business with the Liberia.
The Liberian National Cocoa Sector Public Private Platform established in 2019, is a public private platform that has played a significant role in the visioning, coordination, and facilitation of some key interventions within the cocoa sector.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor