The Informer (Monrovia)

29 January 2013

Liberia: LPMC Builds Farmers Capacity

The Liberia Produce and Marketing Corporation (LPMC) over the weekend ended a three days capacity building workshop 141 participants in Gbarnga, Bong County under the theme "Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects for a Sustainable Cocoa and Coffee Industry in Liberia."

Liberians farmers came from three counties namely Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties were over the weekend converge in central Liberia to be specific Gbarnga for the Liberia Produce and Marketing Corporation (LPMC) three days farmers' capacity building workshop where 69 participants came from Bong, 52 from Nimba and 20 from Lofa who hopes were raise from the pronouncement made by LPMC Managing Director Nyah Mantein that the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has provided US$38 million for Liberia's tree corps farmers.

Speaking to the farmers from the three counties Managing Director Nyah said the workshop is the first of its kind to be conducted by the LMPC in several years adding those from Bong, Lofa, and Nimba Counties that understand and still remember the prospects, opportunities and goodness of LPMC in the 60s, 70s, 80s and part the 90s I needs not to tell you what LPMC did those years, so we are pleased and honor today to have invited all of you here to reason together as a people, as a nation and as people belonging to the farming community in the Republic of Liberia he observes.

Nyah disclosed that such a undertaking will be continue process according to him on his way from Monrovia to Gbarnga people from Gborpulu, Grand Bassa and Grand Gedeh Counties due to the massive publicity of the workshop, asserted that those people were concern while only Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties he averred that the rest of the counties were not disregarded, rather LMPC is trying to segment the counties meaning in the next few weeks or months to come the workshop will go across the entire country he also measure that the work was designed against the backdrop of many considerations.

The LMPC boss said one of those considerations the workshop has been designed is that the quality produce that leaving Liberia from the international market is been discounted for US150.00 because of poor quality especially the cocoa as a result of that Liberia's farmer suffer and the government has been denial export revenue Director Nyah said this taunt is revisable and must be change as the participants applauded him. He said LMPC as a incoming regulatory agency must take the lead in collaboration and consultation with the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Nyah disclose to the farmers that over the last few years government has made two key interventions that they need to know adding Liberia has never been part of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) but now through LPMC collaboration and consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture especially the National Cocoa technical Working Group Liberia is now member of the International Cocoa Organization he adding recently there was a meeting held in Abidjan the capital of Ivory Coast and it was a 5 day conference he headed the Liberian delegation, he said there were 1200 delegates from 40 counties he averred that they were given the opportunity to present the standard of Liberia in term of progress the government has made and continue to make to ensure that there is new development in the cocoa sector from there everything when well as was expected and today Liberia is member of the ICCO he noted and what Liberia need to do now is to pay her membership he said Liberia will invited anytime there is an ICCO meeting and Liberia will be having a saying to speak on behalf of the Liberian farmers.

Also speaking at the workshop was Princetta Clinton-Varmah who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture Florence A Chenoweth Clinton-Varmah begin by thanking the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation for organizing such an important event and for inviting Minister Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture to the capacity building workshop on the "Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects for a Sustainable Cocoa and Coffee Industry in Liberia". He said the minister would have wished to be at the workshop to make a special remark, but unfortunately she was engage in other official assignments in Monrovia.

Clinton-Varmah then said it was a real honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to express on behalf of his minister, sincere thanks to all national and international partners, actors and institutions for all the efforts that have gone into providing funds and services towards the government of Liberia's national priorities in the agriculture sector, asserted "Your efforts are expected to add value through direct and indirect contributions to the Agenda for Transformation, the comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) and the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Program (LASIP).

According to Clinton-Varmah LASIP is the government of Liberia's comprehensive framework for public private partnership (PPP) along agricultural value chains, from production to domestic and export marketing with special emphasis on promoting smallholder farmers, and crafting enabling policies and regulations and the delivery of essential services such as extension, research, and coordination.

She averred that revitalization of smallholder tree corps (cocoa, coffee, oil palm, and rubber) is a major component (program 1, sub-program 3) of the LASIP. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently implementing about US$140 million worth of donor funded projects in its program management unit (PMU). Two of these projects are smallholder tree crop pilot projects, focusing mainly on cocoa, coffee, oil palm and rubber, saying the first main priority is on cocoa, followed by coffee, oil palm and rubber.

Speaking earlier Bong County Superintendent Slena Polson Marppy who welcomed the LPMC and the participants to Gbarnga, Bong County, she told the participants that as LPMC became to move faster than ever before they should take every step serious as they did in the past saying because this government led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf believed in the farmers that is while the President is making show that farmers are place into business.

Speaking on behalf of the participants were Jame Zayway, Tetejay Sesay and Togbah Varpilah who thank the management of LPMC for shaping their knowledge in the area of tree corps production they at the same time called on the government President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to see reason in providing the needed financial support for the LPMC to bring the production Liberia cocoa to international level in order to stop the government from losing good some of money on the world market, at the end of the workshop the 141 participants each received farming tools and transportation.

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