As agriculture remains key priority of the Government's Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PAPD), Camp for Peace Liberia (CPL) has inaugurated the second cassava processing plant valued at US$5,700 in Salayea District, Lofa County.
CP-Liberia is a not-for- profit organization, working with young people to promote sustainable peace and development in the country.
The plant, which was officially opened recently by the Commissioner and Paramount Chief of Salayea District, Ben K. Gorlema and Mamatouma Siryon, is intended to bring rapid production to cassava in that district with a population of over 64,000 people and Liberia at large.
Agriculture in Liberia is a major sector of the country's economy worth 38.8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing more than 70% of the population and providing a valuable export for one of the world's least developed countries (as defined by the UN).
Speaking at the dedication program, the Executive Director of CFP-Liberia, B. Abel Learwellie, said the plant is expected to empowerment over two hundred young people residing within that district.
He also stressed the importance of value-added products of local food commodities which he believes, when properly cultivated, will increase incomes for farmers as well as create jobs for the young people of the region.
He used the occasion to acknowledge partners who have contributed so much money to this development initiative.
Learwellie said one way of empowering the youth after training them is to ensure that they get involved in some agriculture activities.
He also disclosed that the construction and dedication of the plant would enable graduates of its vocational program to put to practice what they have learned.
"The plant in Salayea is a short range sustainable project to ensure that youths engage in agriculture," Learwellie added.
The Executive Director further disclosed that the other cassava processing plant that was erected in Zorzor, Lofa County, is yielding positive results. He said that about 15 acres of cassava would be processed into farina for sale on the local market.
He further explained that his organization is working on medium- and long-term sustainable plans to ensure that young people remain proactive in the agriculture activities. The Camp for Peace boss, who is a development practitioner, said development could only be achieved through practical steps and not only in advocacy.
"The approach to advocacy has to change to empower the people," Learwellie indicated. He asserted that no advocacy could be sustained or maintained in the misdt of poverty.
"That is my driving force initiating my organization's agriculture program in Lofa," Learwellie added. He wants government and other partners assist his organization to improve its agriculture program.
The Camp for Peace Executive Director said, the newly dedicated processing machine can produce 150 bags of processed cassava a day.
He expressed his sincere appreciation to the people of Salayea Town, especially the local government, for giving them land for such an impactful project that will sustainably serve the local population of Salayea District. Learwellie also encouraged youths to use this window of opportunity to transform their lives from being excluded dependents to an inclusive citizenry.
He also used the occasion to express his sincere appreciation to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and Steel Workers Humanity Fund of Canada for giving the grant.
The Commissioner and Paramount Chief of Salayea District, Ben K. Gorlema and Mamatouma Siryon, expressed deep appreciation to Camp for Peace Liberia for the resilience and courage to continue helping young people in the country.
Commissioner Gorlema thanked the donors for making such a grant available for development purposes for Liberian Youth in Salayea and Zorzor Districts. He also encouraged the youth to put all the strategies in place to make maximum use of the equipment and work very hard to make their lives better.
The Salayea District Commissioner encouraged farmers to embark on cassava planting as one of the fastest ways to make money and enhance food security.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Elijah Varney said that their worries about their cassava farms are over. "We have planted over 10 acres of cassava, and have been worried about how we would process it, "Now with the dedication of these machines, we are relieved of our worries, lamented the president," Varney said.
He also thanked Camp for Peace Liberia and the donors for making the funds available. Meanwhile, the first plant, which cost US$12,000, was also installed in that county by CCFP-Liberia.