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Govt. activates ECOWAS seed regulations

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The Government of Liberia has activated national seed, fertilizer and pesticide regulations after publishing ECOWAS regulations in the country’s National Gazette in September 2014. According to a press release issue Thursday in Monrovia, the move towards a more harmonized and regulated sector is meant to provide farmers and agribusinesses with protective measures that will assure quality and safety when acquiring and using agro-inputs.

The release said that having access to quality inputs is an important step for Liberia to achieve food security and reduce reliance on imported food, specifically rice.It added that the new regulations take effective immediately and are the results of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Agriculture, the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program or WAAPP, the United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development Program or USAID FED, and other ECOWAS regional partners.

“The new measures prove that policy dialogue between diverse stakeholders and government can lead to promising changes,” the release narrated.

It also said the Seed, Fertilizer and Pesticide regulations complement the recently issued Executive Order #64, which suspends import tariffs on all types of agriculture equipment and inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides.

“The publication of these documents in the National Gazette is one of the key deliverables and success stories for the Ministry of Agriculture. It will facilitate the establishment of an Independent National Seed Board that will help to organize the seed sector and improve Liberia’s seed program as well as other agricultural inputs,” explains Dr. Moses Zinnah, Director of the Program Management Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture.

He further stated that each published regulation provides the government with the procedures and approaches for effective implementation that will ensure the delivery of quality inputs to Liberians.

To complete implementation of the regulations, the government and partners will need to institute National Regulatory bodies, a National Catalogue of Plant Varieties and Species, execute regulations concerning production, quality control and certification, and establish funding for the administration of the three sectors,” the release added.

It noted that with the help of WAAPP and USAID FED, the Government of Liberia form a policy technical working group to develop the implementing guidelines and facilitate formation of implementing bodies.
The technical working group will bring together stakeholders from the private and public sectors, by doing so, Liberia seeks to ultimately improve its competitiveness in the food production sector and improve incomes of local farmers.

The release concluded that the USAID FED Program for Liberia aims to reduce hunger and promote food security for Liberians through increased agricultural productivity and profitability in rice, cassava, vegetable and goat value chains and it is implemented in six counties Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado.

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