Vice President Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor has described the launch of the Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Program as a critical first step for government towards strengthening of cash yielding products in an attempt to grow foreign exchange earnings.
The Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Program is a four year EU-funded program to be implemented by Solidaridad in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.
VP Howard- Taylor according to a release from the office of the vice President said, the program will also open up opportunities for agribusinesses which portends huge investments in job creation for Liberia’s youth population.
Speaking at the official launch of the program on May 4, 2018, at the Cuttington University, VP Howard-Taylor said, before the war, many cash crops including rubber, coffee and Cocoa played a vital role in sustaining the Liberian economy, improving the wellbeing of agriculture works and diversifying the country’s agriculture portfolio which positively impacted the rural population.
She encouraged farmers and relevant stakeholders, especially female farmers to take advantage of the program and commit to being an integral part.“For it is indeed so; as farmers not only grow for self-sustenance but do so to improve the economic well-being of their families and strengthen the national economic base; but they provide visible examples that farmers actually sustain the nation” the VP stressed.
The release said the comments by the Liberian Vice President were contained in a special statement delivered on her behalf at the event by her Chief of Office Staff, Mr. George Tenessee Nimely.
Mr. Nimely quoted in the release as saying that the Vice President is commending the European Union, the Solidaridad and other partners for standing with Liberia in keeping and securing the peace.
He conveyed the Vice President’s great delight over the recent signing of a 24 million Euros funding, out of which 20 million Euros will go to funding for the cocoa Program to benefit cocoa farmers in Bong, Nimba, and Lofa counties.
The 4 million Euros will go to support for the strengthening of Liberian civil society organizations.The cocoa sector improvement program seeks to revitalize the cocoa sector by creating a vibrant, competitive and profitable cocoa economy driven by farmer groups and private sector supply chain actors, within a robust national regulatory and Institutional framework.
It will also promote farmers access to production support services that leads to farm intensification, rehabilitation of declining farms, new plantings of fallow lands and general extension services among others.
The Chief of Staff further extended the Vice President’s welcome for plans that have been concluded for the budget support funding to be signed by the EU for the Government of Liberia shortly.