Monrovia — Agriculture Minister, Jeanine Milly Cooper, has insisted on the inclusion of Liberian private sector actors in the production and export of oil palm on the National Oil Palm Platform of Liberia (NOPPOL).
Minister Cooper made the urge at the opening of a two-day oil palm retreat at Ministerial Complex on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Agriculture now chairs this platform for the first time since its establishment three years ago.
The platform is a multi-stakeholders body set up by the private sector (concessionaires), civil society, government institutions and development partners meant to work through challenges and mitigate key barriers from achieving sustainable production of palm oil in Liberia.
"The Liberian private sector actors are the ones trying "to stand on their feet" and already have Liberia palm oil on the international settings. I am not talking about the concessions and smallholders' supported by NGOs with all due respect to them, but for the Liberian private sector in the oil palm industry. They are not represented on this platform. That needs to be corrected and they must be included on this platform", Minister Cooper insisted.
She further said, "While I respect the concessions as they provide the agriculture contributions to Liberia's GDP and driving growth, we, as a Ministry, also seeks to promote the local Liberian private sectors involved in oil palm production and export".
Minister Cooper demanded practical actions now in the oil palm sector instead of studies and assessments which have been done.
"I see the oil palm work plan for 2020 and I don't see the practical actions to grow the sector. I only see strategies, assessments and reviews. Less of those as we already have the strategies, laws and studies. Let's work on how to practically support our Liberian local oil palm sector to be source of premium quality oil palm products from Liberia on the international market", she pointed out.
She said similar insistence has been made to the cassava and rubber sectors in getting Liberian private actors actively involved to see them grow and thrive which is part of her vision for the country's agriculture sector.