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Eighty trainers graduate from Cocoa farming program

Eighty persons have graduated from a 3-week Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop hosted by Solidaridad West Africa, Liberia for Farmers’ Field School (FFS) facilitators.
According to a release, the ceremony took place on Friday, 22 February in Ganta, Nimba County.

Participants of the training were drawn from selected communities in Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties, where the Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Program (LICSIP) is being implemented.
LICSIP is funded by the European Union InLiberia.

According to the lead trainer, two to three persons were designated by their various communities to be interviewed and tested by program staff before selection.
SylvanusAgordorku says after a robust vetting process, one person was selected from each community to form part of the training.

“We trained them in several different aspects of cocoa production including nursery establishment and management, management of farmers’ field school, cocoa diseases and pests management, and cocoa rehabilitation, among others,” he says.

He notes that the facilitators will now return to their various communities to open up FFS and begin training other farmers on the best management practices for cocoa. “There are several cocoa farmers in these communities, but they don’t have the support in terms of information, knowledge and skills. We expect the facilitators to run the various schools for 10 months, teachingwhat we have been teaching them during the weeks of training,” says Mr. Agordorku.

“If we get this right, we will have enough farmers doing the right thing and before you know it, we will be producing quality cocoa and with the desired yields that will change the lives of the struggling farmers,” Mr. Agordorku explains.

The lead trainer also explains that the program will ensure that new plantings are done according to standard.This, he says, will produce cocoa with better quality and quantity and help change the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Liberia.
Follow ups will be made to ensure that facilitators are doing the right thing at their various training schools”, he adds.

In remarks, the Program Associate of Solidaridad West Africa – Liberia KefiConteh describes cocoa is an important crop in West Africa, and Solidaridad has a strong presence in the value chain.
According to Conteh, Ivory Coast and Ghana are driving the region in the production of the crop, but Liberia has a promising future, especially with the support being given by the European Union through the LICSIP.
“Liberia, as a country, is presently contributing less than 1% of the cocoa coming out of the region. But the soils here are even better than some of the other places that are producing more,” Mr. Conteh observes.
He concludes that the LICSIP hopes to address this problem under their activity to improve farm-level production.–Press release

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