Tarlesson Farms Incorporated, a national farmer cooperative with over 200,000 farmers and producers expresses serious frustration over the manner in which donations from the World Bank, USAID, African Development Bank and other partners have been spent in the country.
In a press release issued Wednesday, October 4, the group through its president Rev. Roosevelt Tarlesson lauds international partners for grant provided, saying “We commend and appreciate the World Bank and others for providing millions of United States dollars intended for youth employment, economy recovery, farmers, and to end hunger, among others.
However, he notes that the people for whom those funds were intended have not benefited, something which he laments has caused economic hardship, and worsening living conditions of Liberians. He explains that the World Bank purchased 10,500 tons of crop seedlings for the 2015 crop season, at the cost of US$15 million to be distributed among farmers, but very little seeds went to farmers across Liberia.
Tarlesson Farmers lament that besides the money for the crop seeds, more than US$40 million was reportedly allocated to address economic hardship and poverty in Liberia between 2015 and 2016, and 2017, respectively. According to the group, it sent a written request to the World Bank, Ministry of Agriculture and President Sirleaf, seeking basic tools including crop seeds, cutlasses and financial assistance.
The release says but unfortunately, on February 15, 2017 former Minister of Agriculture Dr. Moses Zinnah replied that there was no money in the ministry’s budget to fund farmers. It further notes that the World Bank, including President Sirleaf and some Senators and Representatives have been silent on the request for farming aid.
Meanwhile, the group discloses here that farmers in various counties, communities, and villages across the country are ready to eradicate hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and revise the Liberian agro-economy themselves, but that could only happen if they were empowered with the necessary working tools.
At the same time the National Farmers’ Cooperative of Tarlesson Farms Incorporated says it strongly believes that if only half of the US$500 million aid goes to farmers, a crisis situation would be averted. Press Release
By Lewis S. Teh