By: Moses R. Quollin, firstname.lastname@example.org +231770922412/+231880922412 (Liberia Forest Media Watch-LFMW)
The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), under the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) have launched a cassava harvest production containing 15 hectares of land in Tehr District, Bomi County.
Through the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAP), funded by the World Bank and the Government of Norway, authorities say investing in degraded lands for agriculture provides many benefits for Liberia and Liberians.
These includes poverty reduction through job creation and economic empowerment, fight against deforestation as well as climate change and other negative vices that effect the environment globally.
In conversations with the Liberia Forest Media Watch – LFMW, smiling residents of Gangama Town, in Tehr District, Bomi County on March 17, 2020 were seeing expressing appreciations to the Government of Liberia and her international partners for the level of support in ensuring the successful harvesting of the cassava for further processing despite many challenges encountered.
Speaking at the event- launch of the symbolic harvest, MOA’s Deputy Minister for Regional Development, Research and Extension, George Tee Forpoh reassured gov’t willingness to invest in agriculture – local farmers who he said “are at the heart of the new Minister – Jeannie Milly Cooper and the “Pro-Poor” agenda of President George Weah.”
He then encouraged the beneficiaries and partners to help support the government in other agricultural areas including cash crops production which will improve the living conditions of Liberians, and also emphasized issues of the reported corona virus in Liberia.
Thanking the REDD+ Implementation program, Norwegian government, and the ‘resilient’ residents of Bomi County, Hon. Forpoh noted that the MOA is putting into place more measures to improve farming activities in Liberia.
“At the Ministry of Agriculture, we have equipment now. If you are interested in using some of our equipment like the power tailor or tractor to help you to ply the soil, all you need to do is to just write the Minister a letter of request. We will be available at your door’s steep.” The Deputy Agriculture Boss called on the Liberians to take advantage available of opportunities at the Ministry.
For his part, REDD+, LFSP Coordinator Saah A. David, representing the FDA, maintained that donor partners and the government would not support any form of efforts that undermines the fight against deforestation and forest degradation, therefore, encouraged Liberians to abide by best practices.
The Liberia Forest Sector Project, he said, is deeply interested in few important things including the recognition of local dwellers that degraded lands also fertile, making use of them (the lands) in order to reduce the pressure on the forest, creating market assets by mass production, and among others.
“As a part of reducing deforestation and forest degradation, it is important to note that it can be reduced if the livelihood of our people are taken into consideration – use the degraded lands or old farming lands that are no more forested for agricultural purposes for our people who depends on farming. Do not cut down the trees to make farms. Degraded land are also fertile.” The REDD+ project coordinator noted.
The Tehr District Farm – Cassava Production is being implemented by the Human Development Foundation (HDF) with the objective of working with 25 farming groups in order to cultivate the 15 hectares of land in order to provide means (raw materials) for the FALAMA Incorporated, a local cassava processing mail constructed within the same area by the government of Liberia.
According to both HDF Executive Director Sensee Sirleaf, and FALAMA’s Field Supervisor William Kennedy, production is ready for market in various kinds and the successfulness lies in the hands of local dwellers.
LFMW, a consortium of investigative journalists following issues within the forest sector of Liberia said it is gradually acknowledging some improvements within the Liberian forestry, significantly LFSP even though challenges are numerous.
It can be recalled in September 2014, the government of Liberia (GoL) and the Government of Norway (GoN) signed a partnership through a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the purpose of supporting the development and implementation of Liberia’s REDD+ strategy to ensure significant net reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (D&FD).
The partnership also called for contributing to sustainable development in Liberia through protecting natural forests, restoring degraded lands, and developing Liberia’s agricultural sector; as well as working together to support progress on global efforts regarding climate change and sustainable development in general and REDD+ in particular.