Assistant Agriculture Minister for Research and Extension, Alvin C. Wesseh, says the only way Liberia would become a middle-income country, government should prioritize agriculture.
He made the assertion at the Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia while deputizing for Agriculture Minister, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo, Jr., during the 48th anniversary celebration of the College of Agriculture and Forestry Students Association or CAFSA.
He says agriculture plays a major role in any country; therefore, if Liberia is to become a middle-income country, it must invest in agriculture, noting that Liberians depend on imported food to survive, which is frustrating.
Assistant Minister Wesseh, a former student of the UL, notes that university students, who major in Agriculture play major role in every country’s development, even though they have been looked down upon in Liberia.
He challenges the government and university students to turn to agriculture in resolving the country’s food security gap by ensuring Liberia becomes self-sufficient in food to feed its citizens and export some for revenue generation.
He specifically calls on students reading Agriculture to see the soil as an investment and bedrock of transformation that would redeem the downtrodden masses from abject poverty to breadwinners.
He says students of the College of Agriculture and Forestry should not look down on themselves as mere farmers, but rather as conventional and industrial people that Liberia will depend on for food security and infrastructural development.
“University students, Liberians in general, must return to the soil for massive food production in order for Liberians to refrain from the dependency syndrome and manage their food security. We want for every Liberian to see the Ministry of Agriculture as their home because the “pro-poor” government led by President George Weah will make sure, through the Agriculture Ministry, that agriculture becomes national [priority]” Minister Wesseh adds.
He notes that since the depreciation of price of rubber on the world market, Liberia, which has one of the largest rubber plantations, has been striving to recover from economic hardship, emphasizing that the Ministry of Agriculture will go to both primary and secondary schools to educate school authorities on the importance of agriculture so they may prioritize it as bedrock for Liberia’s recovery.
According to him, he and his boss, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo, Jr., will peacefully engage President George M. Weah to give maximum support to the agriculture sector because about 70 percent of Liberia’s population depends on agriculture to survive.
He then pledges 50,000 Liberian Dollars to the College of Agriculture and Forestry Students Association on their 48th anniversary celebration.Responding, CAFSA President, Lawrence W. Doe, gave a brief history of the college, saying it is the William R. Tolbert, Jr. College of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Liberia.
He says this followed the 1967 merge of the previously separated colleges of agriculture and forestry, recalling that forestry courses were introduced at the University of Liberia in 1955, and one year later, with the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the UL authorities, the forestry college started under the auspices of the government and the Department of Agriculture, now the Ministry of Agriculture.
By Ojuku Silver-tongue Kangar, Jr. (Intern)–Editing by Jonathan Browne