Liberia: President Weah Wants Speedy Confirmation of Agriculture Minister

Monrovia — President George Weah has urged members of the Liberian Senate to speedily confirm Madam Jeannie Cooper as Liberia's new Agriculture Minister. The President described her as the 'right person' to lead the charge.

According to him, his vetting and selection of the new Agriculture Minister-designate was comprehensive and thorough and the selection of Madam Cooper is the right choice and the right person to lead the charge.

"I believe we have found the right person to lead this charge. The nominee is a woman whose track record, competence and dedication match my vision for agricultural transformation in Liberia. I hope that you will share my view, and grant her speedy confirmation so that she can urgently embark upon the great task that is before her. If she cannot do it, then I do not know who else we will find to do it."

In his Annual Address to the Legislature on Monday, Jan. 27, Pres. Weah told Liberians through their Representatives -- senators & representatives -- that Liberia cannot realize full economic transformation without a vibrant agriculture program.

"Agriculture is critical to the kind of development my government strives to achieve. This is why the sector remains a major pillar of the country's development agenda. With the program to connect the various communities and counties through quality paved road networks now fully mobilized, funded and underway, the next big push by my administration this year will be to reorganize the agriculture sector and put it at the front burner of our national development initiatives."

He further told lawmakers that a greater investment in the Agriculture sector will not only guarantee food security, but will also provide jobs and become a source of livelihood for thousands of families across Liberia.

"Over the coming months, the Government intends to harness both local and international support and resources to lead the new agriculture drive, which will focus on the entire value chain - from the remote farmlands to the sprawling marketplaces across the country. We will exert every effort to subsidize the works of more farmers and local cooperatives with the objective of enhancing productivity.

"Whereas the country has traditionally focused on rice production, we must begin to work with authorities in the sector and our international counterparts to look at ways we can fully cultivate other cash crops, such as cocoa and coffee."

President Weah also recognized international acclamation by countries neighboring Liberia for the production and exportation of agriculture products; adding, "When actually, their natural endowment are not that different from ours."

He committed Liberia to joining ongoing efforts by the European Union and others to revamp and make the coffee and cocoa sectors viable and profitable. We will assist farmers to increase their yields through new farming methods and mechanization.

"Over the years, millions of dollars were put into agriculture with very little result to show. This new drive will tap on available knowledge and experience, while working with international partners and local farmers to lead a new program that empowers Liberians, through agribusinesses, in order to grow the economy.

"We expect the new minister (if confirmed by the Senate) to bring harmony to the various efforts in the sector for efficiency and greater productivity. We will be seeking the help of Your Honorable Legislature in this regard, working with the appropriate committees of both Houses.

"We have already secured the commitment of key local and international stakeholders, who are supportive of our new drive to upgrade agriculture so that the country can reap its full benefits.

"Liberia's comparative advantage lies in its fertile soil, vast quantity of arable land, and suitable climatic conditions. We must therefore make the best of what we are gifted with."

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