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Liberia still faces food challenges

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The Assistant Minister of Agriculture for Administration, Ernest Clark says despite gains made in the Agriculture sector after the civil crisis and the Ebola epidemic in the country, Liberia is still grappling with food security challenges.

He says 18 percent or 875,430 Liberians are food insecure, and of these
total, rural areas constitute 23 percent of food insecurity, while 11 percent is in urban areas.

Minister Clark made the statement recently at the start of the Scaling
Up Nutrition (SUN) meeting held with the United Nations Assistant
Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition
movement, Ms. Gerda Verburg, currently in the country.

He says the Ministry of Agriculture plays a pivoted role in the successful implementation of the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PADP).

Clark indicates that Liberia is an Agriculture-based country with over 70
percent of its citizens relying on Agriculture for livelihood.

According to him, the Agriculture Ministry is taking the lead to
reverse this ugly situation by inviting and motivating all stakeholders in the sector to unite and direct their efforts to introducing measures that will improve productivity of farmers.

He says key Agriculture areas for focus should be determined and activities clearly identified, if targets must be actualized within timeframe.

Clark notes that at a working session of stakeholders, there was
agreement that rice, vegetable and meat value chains are priority
areas for development, indicating there are plans to develop these
value chains in perfect alignment with the Agriculture sector investment plan.

The visiting United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement lauds the Government of Liberia for developing the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), which she terms as very ambitious.

She notes full implementation of the PAPD will transform Liberia
from its current state to a better country.

Ms Verburg adds that the government has an opportunity to change the
current state of the country’s nutrition status by investing more in
the agriculture sector.

She says Liberia is very blessed to have abundant land and fertile
soil to not only become food sufficient, but to export to other countries as well.

While in the country, the senior UN official is expected to meet with
an array of senior government officials including President
George M. Weah, the Ministers of Health, Agriculture, Finance and
Development Planning as well as the United Nations, and nutrition
leaders in the country as part of efforts to highlight the
importance of investing in good nutrition for human and economic
sustainable development.

She is also expected to underscore the importance of
government’s approach to nutrition and call for the country’s
leadership as a member country of the SUN Movement.

Liberia is committed to reducing malnutrition through multi-sectoral strategies that address the immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition. The country is also obligated to meeting the nutrition targets set at national, regional and international (SDGs) level.
By Bridgett Milton –Editing by Jonathan Browne

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