17 June 2019

Liberia: Solidaridad Launches New Cocoa, Oil Palm Projects to Intensify Best Practices, Revenue for Smallholder Farmers

Ron Strikker, Netherlands Ambassador accredited to Ghana, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo with policymakers and stakeholders from the coca and oil palm sectors.

The Office of Solidaridad-Liberia along with partners from both the private and public sectors on Friday, June 14, 2019, launched two intervention projects, dubbed the "Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP)" and the "Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme".

The 3.8 million Euros projects, funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ghana, target 42,000 smallholder farmers from both the cocoa and oil palm sectors and will end in December 2021.

CORIP's core objectives include access to finance, policy and institutional capacity strengthening, women and youth inclusion and resilient coca production systems, while the SWAPP is centered on demonstration of Best Management Practices (BMPs) at farm and mill levels and support of Roundtable on Sustainable Oil Palm (RSPO) certification processes. Strengthening multi-stakeholder platforms to influence policy and mitigating social and environmental impact are other areas of concerns under the SWAPP.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo, Minister of Agriculture, welcomed the intervention of Solidaridad in the cocoa and oil palm sector. He said that the two sectors are of priority for the Liberian government. He said that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is willing to give necessary support needed to make sure that smallholder farmers get all of the services that both CORIP and SWAPP promised.

Sr. Policy Specialist, Anthony Kesselly, who proxied for Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, said that the projects align with the Government of Liberia's Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). He said that Solidaridad steps in the quest to boost the government's goal of poverty alleviation and overall social economic development. According to him, the sectors have the potential to absorb more youth and brighten the image of the country and assured that the Liberian Government is not yielding to temptations to relegate the sector in favor of some quick-fix issues.

Also, Isaac Gyamfi, Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, said that Solidaridad's core approach is to develop sustainable institutions through the partnership of the private sector and governments.

He said Solidaridad focuses on best practices, resilient landscape management, and support the development of enabling policy context and environment.

He called on the government of Liberia, development partners and stakeholders in the cocoa and oil palm sectors to work together to develop systems that are sustainable and that propel development in a good way.

Ron Striker, the Netherlands Ambassador accredited to Ghana, said that the Netherlands partnership with Solidaridad aims to improve productivity, profitability, and attractiveness of the cocoa and oil palm sectors as well as make the two sectors attractive to the young people of Liberia.

He cautioned policymakers and stakeholders attending the launch to make the cocoa and oil palm sectors more sustainable by considering environmental factors, decent prices, and child labor elimination.

Earlier, the Cocoa Programme Manager of Solidaridad- Liberia, Boima Bafaie who gave the overview of the two programmes, said that Solidaridad -West Africa is implementing the programmes in Liberia guided by the institution experience with similar interventions respectively in Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria.

He said that CORIP will be implemented in Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties and SWAPP will be implemented in Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Nimba Counties.

Solidaridad is a non-governmental organization operating in five continents through Regional Expertise Centers (RECs). In West Africa, Solidaridad operates in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Solidaridad-West Africa currently manages programmes and projects in the sustainable production of cocoa, oil palm, maize and gold in the focus countries.

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