16 May 2019

West Africa: Solidaridad Launches West African Oil Palm Program

Monrovia — Solidaridad West Africa has launched a 3,821, 619 euros Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Program (SWAPP) in Liberia as part of promoting sustainable oil palm and improving food security in Liberia.

The project is supported by the Dutch Embassy in Ghana aimed at improving incomes and livelihoods from oil palm through increasing farm productivity and efficiency of processing mills.

It will be implemented in collaboration with local partners and in Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It is a three-year program and will cover Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Bomi and Bong Counties.

Cyrus Saygbe, project manager oil-palm said the strategy under SWAPP is centered on introduction of smallholder farmers to best management practices through establishing demonstration farms for farmer training and investment in nurseries to facilitate access to improved planting materials.

He furthers that at mill level, Solidaridad will introduce small-scale processing mills to improved milling practices by co-investing in efficient mills in counties that do not have access to large scale processing mills to buy fresh fruit bunches from smallholder farmers.

Saygbe said the project will develop and sustain the needed skills at the farm and mill levels.

"The skills of especially the youth will be developed through technical, vocational and entrepreneurship training to take advantage of employment opportunities in the sector."

SWAPP will also enhance enabling business environment, multi-stakeholder platforms will be strengthened to actively engage government on sector policies, he said

The project coordinator furthers that the Adoption of sustainability standards to mitigate environmental impact of project activities will be promoted through support for RSPO National Interpretation process and the TFA 2020 Action Plan for Liberia.

He added that Solidaridad believes that the pathways will make significant contribution towards an inclusive and sustainable oil palm sector.

SWAPP Advisory Committee was also formed, the committee will Ensures that program activities are aligned with national strategy, provides strategic direction for program implementation at the national level and Provides insights to the program implementation team regarding stakeholder interest, technical advice -and other relevant initiatives.

Jamima Wolokolie, Deputy Commerce Minister of Small Business promised that the ministry will collaborate for the successful implementation of the with the project.

She encouraged the project to include the Environmental Protection Agency for assessment prior to planting and harvesting.

Jetty Carter, program officer, Ministry of States Presidential delivery said women and youths should be included, that will help them with self-esteem and influence their career.

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