A two- year Technical Cooperation Program (TCP), intended to strengthen National Food Control Systems in Liberia has been officially launched in the Country.
The monetary value of the Technical Cooperation Program is $US348, 000.00 (Three Hundred Forty Eight Thousand United States Dollar) and was formally signed on September 10, 2019 at the Commerce Ministry in Monrovia.
A Commerce Ministry release says the TCP initiative was launched this week in Monrovia and is between the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Liberian Government, represented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Speaking during the Program, FAO Country Representative, Mariatou Njie, said food safety, improved food security and nutrition are recognized as important for the overall development of Liberia.
Madam Njie also said food safety, improved food security and nutrition have been equally highlighted among the long-term foundational issues in national economic development and the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
She disclosed that an estimated 600 million cases of food- borne illness annually and further described unsafe food as a threat to human health and global economies.
According to the release, the FAO country representative noted that in the World Health Organization African region, more than 91 million people fall ill and 137,000 die every year, representing 1/3 of the global death toll for food- borne diseases.
For his part, Commerce and Industry Minister, Wilson Tarpeh, said the intervention by the FOA, with a capital investment of $US 348,000.00 is what the Commerce Ministry considers as the Soil to Stomach.
Professor Tarpeh noted that the initiative is important to Liberians, especially for those who are familiar with the FAO’s role in developing Liberia’s agriculture sector.
The Commerce Minister said as a young man out of school at the time, he realized that the Food and Agriculture Organization was among few institutions that came in to buttress the Liberian Government’s efforts for a strategic plan to move agriculture forward.
He lauded the FAO for the gesture and stated that Liberia is always appreciative of what is being done by its partners, including the FAO to move the Country ahead.
Giving an overview of the initiative, Assistant Commerce Minister for Industry, Morris K. Saryan, said the objective of the Technical Cooperation Program is to address the gap within the Food Safety and Control Systems through the provision of technical and logistical support.
Mr. Saryon noted further that the idea will also help by consolidating the fragile situation through strengthening National Control Systems to ensure safety of food and improve economic trade in Liberia.
In accordance with the TCP, the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture and Health are the key agencies of the Liberian Government, responsible for the implementation of the Technical Cooperation Project.
At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will serve as the focal entity, charged with the responsibility of appointing a National Project Coordinator (NPC), to ensure smooth implementation and coordination of the project activities in close collaboration with the FAO.
The official launch of the $US348, 000.00 Technical Cooperation Program was graced by representatives from the World Health Organization, UN Women, UNDP, EU, USAID-LADA, Ministry of Health, amongst others.