By: Jefferson G Togba*
While we’re still living through uncertainty amidst a global public health crisis along high unemployment rate in Liberia. Do not despite small beginning because history has informed us that Lofa was once the food basket of Liberia like many counties. Arguably, the county produced sulpuses than any county prior to our senseless Civil conflict that lasted 14 years.
HOWEVER, it might surprise many to know that Liberia is mostly dependent on agriculture in Africa according to the world atlas data,2015. The report clearly identified 76.9% of Liberia GDP comes from agriculture activities while the sector accounts for 68% labor force.
With that information, without agriculture Liberia have no economy. The Civil upheaval plagued many sectors but agriculture can’t be overemphasized the extent of devastation. In Liberia, rubber is the major cash crop, whereas palm oil is rated second as shown in the report. The two sectors yielded 14 million in trade surplus in 2001. Its not strange to have many citizens aggressively engaged into rubber and palm growing.
The world ranked agriculture percentage contribution of GDP as indicated below. Liberia ranks the top of these countries accordingto that report: Liberia #1 Liberia 76.9%, #2 Somalia 60.2%, #3 Guinea-Bissau 55.8%, 4# The Central Africa Republic 53.1%, #5 Chad 52.7%, #6 Comoros 51.6%, # 7 Sierra Leone 51.5% ,#8 Togo 46.0%, #9 Ethiopia 41%, #10 Niger 39%, #11 Mali 38.8%, #12 Burma ( Myanmar) 38.2%,#13 Democratic Republic of Congo 37.5%, #14 Benin 36.% and #15 Nepal 34.9%.
Liberia have one of the suitable climates for agricultural purposes with well drained rain forest soils ideal for tree cultivation … More than 60% of the world’s population depends and survives on agriculture, FAO 2015.
Leaders are goals setters and great achievers by examples. Look at the word “Leader”. “LEADER IS THE PERSON WHO LEADS OR COMMANDS A GROUP, ORGANIZATION, OR COUNTRY”. In our case, we have a country and lead increase development, growth through sustainable policies and programs. When do we use our own resources and money for our common benefits?
Agriculture could lower unemployment if National government takes value and interest in the sector. The unemployment rate increase if the rate of growth of real output is less than the rate of growth of the labor force plus the rate of increase of labor productivity.
The President must make farming National demand and priority starting with the chief executive and his cabinet ministers. Not leaving out the vice president too. Have we failed to try or we just don’t care?
We know it’s not compulsory for president to farm but this could alleviate some of many public outcry concerning jobs creation. This style of providing jobs for citizens may not be normal yet can greatly help. Why stakeholders don’t do the least for themselves?
Liberia has more than 12 Ministries and other public corporation and state Own Enterprise. Given ministers and their two principles Deputies engage into agriculture activities. It’s also established that some Ministries have more than four principles Deputies.
Those officials of government won’t cultivate farm land and plant neither harvest by themselves but hired individuals within their farming counties and or communities.
Additionally, the executive appoints 15 superintendent and two assistant superintendents for each county. Let it be known that no government officials abuse their power and Authority or either coerce citizens to work free of charge.
In furtherance to reducing unemployment through agriculture efforts give thought of including city major, district and paramount chiefs as well as clan chiefs.
Also weigh on the judiciary branch to support farming venture to promote local employment. The Chief Justice and Associate Justices must lead in farming engagement with every judiciary appointee from the executive.
Meanwhile,sources point at members of the national legislature for receiving money from National Budget for Agricultural Break so far we haven’t see any farm duly identified that locally employed districts members. Is it wrong to use your money to promote growth through employment? Our people are not election materials.
On the other hand, corruption continues to scare away investors and their investments thereby compelling fewer and smaller foreign companies to scaled down drastically and many have closed.
Presently, Liberia have 103 lawmakers; 30 are senators in the the upper house and 73 are representatives in the lower house of parliament. Why do we always looked up to others for everything when we can do it?
Liberians stakeholders must create opportunities for employment. We can’t depend largely on foreign direct investment and foreign Portfolio investment when governance system isn’t trusted. Liberians must do it themselves starting with public officials.
Besides those with extraordinary interests in agriculture before they became parliamentarians. For example, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe,Jr and Hon. J Oscar Cooper. Maybe some of which we don’t know of. I mentioned these parliamentarians because their engagement is an opened fact that everyone knows.
The first branch of government must sustain and grow the economy because they drained resources annually through huge remuneration, benefits and even Stipend to do their jobs.
Multiple 103 farms in different counties and hire at least 15 persons per lawmaker then calculate the Multiplier effects amongst different families, districts and communities. Suggesting 15 employees because we don’t have machineries and advance farming techniques.
They must purchase their farm land and observe deforestation laws like India. They can’t farm everywhere, every time but maintain farm land. So purchase your land.
Even the university of Liberia must return to its pre war agriculture initiative like Fendell palm project and other if any. The Liberia Marketing Association and the federal road transport unions should get deeply involve and account for revenue collection.
In summary, the Ministry of Agriculture and National Fisheries and Agriculture Authority (NaFAA) be obliged to act beyond developing and guiding framework but become practical to change the dynamics of agriculture and food on the local market.
However, I put it to you today,show me countries without adequate food,quality education and wonderful health where the people prosper. These are the pillars for strong and sophisticated nation’s economy.
China ,India and the United are heavily engaged with agriculture. The Bible said ” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..Lack of knowledge”: “of God” (Hosea 4:1).
Therefore, i will say citizens don’t listen because they are very hungry. They don’t care because survive is really tough..No food, neglecting education and above No healthy peoples. The immediate cause of the recession that became the Great Depression was the collapse of private investment. At the moment, the private sector isn’t investing in Liberia. Therefore unemployment remained high for the Liberian economy. Use agriculture to solve unemployment with the minimum. The wait have not really helped since independence. Liberia wait no more to do what you can do.