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Speaker Koffa wants Liberia to grow its food

--Appeals to China for technological knowledge

Speaker Koffa said Liberia is struggling with rising rice prices, and the importation of rice, Liberia’s staple food, remains a huge burden on the country’s foreign reserve.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, May 24, 2024: House Speaker Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa has appealed to the People’s Republic of China to transfer technical knowledge and expertise to Liberia for agricultural purposes, particularly rice production.

Speaker Koffa requested the Chinese’s technical support in agriculture when the Chinese Embassy near Monrovia held a dinner Monday under the theme: “Keeping in Mind the Original Aspiration of China-Liberia Relations to Move Forward Together.”

During the dinner, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Yin Chengwu disclosed that they will continue to advance engagement at all levels and in all areas with Liberia.

However, Speaker Koffa said China has extensive technical and technological expertise in agriculture, especially in rice production, which can help Liberia grow its food.   

According to him, Liberia spends a lot of money on rice importation. He lamented that Liberia’s trade relationship is in deficit because the country is import-dependent.

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Growing its food will enable the economy to grow and save the country’s resources, Speaker Koffa argued. 

“There are [a] lot of arable lands, you know, we can plant and grow rice and feed ourselves. So, when that is done, we don’t have to use these huge foreign exchange resources to buy rice yearly,” Speaker Koffa pleaded.

“Mr. Ambassador, we are still struggling with the issue of rice prices. The importation of rice remains a huge burden on our foreign reserve,” he continued. 

Liberia has a lot of arable land, so the House Speaker suggested that the country could feed itself with the aid of Chinese technology. 

“Additionally, with further technical advancement and transfer, we will be able to turn our raw materials into finished products and become a net export nation,” he continued. 

Through agricultural productivity, he suggested that Liberia would feed itself and provide jobs for its people.

He acknowledged that China has the technical knowledge and resources and a track record of assisting Liberia in knowledge-based agreements under past and current administrations.

The Grand Kru County Electoral District #2 lawmaker stated that Liberia producing what it eats the most will bring valued addition.

Regarding Liberia and China’s relationship, Koffa said he does not regard it as being exploitative.

“We appreciate and thank so much [for] China’s role in Liberia, recounted by Chinese Ambassador Yin Chengwu,” he said. 

“The relationship with China is about time it sees more growth in the Liberian economy. Our trade relationship, Liberia, is in a deficit.”

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