By Lincoln G Peters
Opposition Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT) political leader Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe has blasted the Ministries of Commerce and the Agriculture for their alleged failure and inability to empower local farmers and regulate business prices and the agriculture sector.
Speaking Thursday, 14 October 2021 on the Spoon 107.7 FM talk show, Dr. Whapoe said the actions of the two government institutions are responsible for the hardship that the ordinary Liberians are experiencing under this government.
According to him, the influx of imported products on the Liberian market is seriously impeding the growth of the business and agriculture sectors of the country.
Whapoe explained that if the Government of Liberia through the Ministries of Commerce and Agriculture can empower local farmers, regulate prices on the market and give priority to locally produced products, local farmers will benefit.
“If the locally produced rice or other agriculture products are given priority in our country by national stakeholders and government, we will defeat hunger and poverty,” Dr. Whapoe said.
“We have to make sure that farmers are empowered in order to reduce the too much importation of rich and other commodities on the market”, Dr. Whapoe added.
He further indicated that Liberia is spending approximately 36 million United States dollars on the importation of oranges and peanuts from neighboring Guinea and the Ivory Coast, something he said is killing and damaging the economy here.
“Let’s say Liberia has five hundred and fifty-four million United States dollars … and we are spending 23 million United States dollars on a capital flight on pepper and four million United States dollars on the importation of rice to our country, tell me with that, how can we defeat hunger and emancipate our people from poverty?” Dr. Whapoe asked rhetorically.
Whapoe, a constituent member of the Rainbow Alliance of Liberia noted that if Liberia can put in place price control, empower local farmers by making sure that imported products don’t have influence over local products, the country will defeat poverty.
He argued that due to the economic hardship in the country, children are all in the streets selling to support their parents and homes instead of being in school seeking education.
He noted that Liberia is gradually moving to a bigger illiteracy rate because children are not given the opportunity to explore their education capacity, rather, they are finding food for themselves and their families because the government and the system have failed the people.
“Eating and living is the responsibility of government to provide these rights for its citizens. We are now living in great fear in our country due to the many alleged reports of the mysterious disappearance and ritualistic killings across the country”, Dr. Whapoe disclosed.
He said if he is elected president of the Republic of Liberia, he will use the first two years to divide the country into four Agriculture Districts and his government will invest 24 million United States dollars to make sure that Liberian products are given priority.
” I will put a high tariff on imported rice and other commodities at which time those agriculture districts will help through the empowerment they have received to produce all the local rice that reach our consumption,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr. Whapoe is calling on Liberians to be patient, noting that comes 2023, he will bring true change with better leadership through agriculture which will end poverty and open economic empowerment and development for citizens.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/dr-whapoe-storms-nimba-county/–Edited by Winston W. Parley