About 48 farmers in Pleebo- Sodoken District, Maryland County have benefitted from the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation Crops or MOPPC compensation scheme. The beneficiaries, including 43 rubber farm owners and 15 food crop farmers, received a total of US$145,986 last Saturday.
The MOPP Crops compensation exercise targets individuals whose crops are planted within the company’s premises and could be destroyed by the ongoing bush clearing for effective oil palm cultivation.
According to the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation Project Manager Assemien Bienvenu, the ongoing compensation scheme is intended to give farmers a just benefit for the destruction of their farms. Mr. Bienvenu said the scheme was carried out with a standard rate designed by a special committee comprised of farmers and traditional leaders, among others.
According to the committee’s standard rate, a mature live tree is valued at five United States Dollars, while an immature tree values two US Dollars fifty cents; and an acre of food crop farm is worth seventy five United States dollars.
The recent compensation brings to US$ 178,986, the total money spent by the company on farmers in just seven months. It can be recalled that in January this year, the also paid over 33,000 as compensations.
Speaking at a brief program marking the second phase of the scheme, the SIFCA Liberia Deputy Managing Director John Barkemeni, expressed delight. “We are all happy; in the sense that this again for a second time demonstrates a commitment of the entity that we head, which in this case is MOPP”, Mr. Barkemeni said added that the program demonstrated the entity’s commitment to serving the community.
He said the exercise will reignite a strong partnership between SIFCA and the people of Maryland County which would foster peace and economic development.
Mr. Barkemeni further noted that with the rectification of the concession agreement, both the Cavalla Rubber Corporation and the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation will shortly embark on community development initiatives, aimed at improving the livelihood of the locals through capacity building, employment and provision of basic social services.
The SIFCA Liberian executive urged citizens to take advantage of the available opportunities by submitting themselves to the company. Representing the local authorities, Acting County Superintendent Daniel Williams commended the beneficiaries for giving up their farms for the development of the county at large.
Mr. Williams also thanked the management of MOPP for upholding its commitment to remunerate farmers. Meanwhile, the local official has admonished the beneficiaries to use their money very wisely.
For his part, a spokesperson for the beneficiaries expressed great pleasure on behalf of his colleagues for the sacrifices made in the interest of the county. Sunday Wilson lauded the management of MOPP for the kind gesture and said they were glad to receive the tokens. He urged other farmers to follow suit by giving up their farms for development.
The program which was held at the Cavalla Rubber Corporation central office in Gedetarbo, Maryland County brought together cross section of community residents, including chiefs other local government officials, among others.