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Stakeholders recommend conservation sensitive cocoa production in Liberia

Joseph Sayon
Some stakeholders at the conference
Some stakeholders at the conference

MONROVIA,LIBERIA-Stakeholders in the forest and Agriculture   sectors have made several recommendations aimed at promoting deforestation-free cocoa production in Liberia.

The recommendations, among other things, called for the adoption of the definition of Green cocoa production in Liberia, and the development of a National Curriculum for the training of farmers and other actors on all aspects of supply chains, including certification.

In their recommendations, the stakeholders emphasized the need for adequate financing opportunities for farmers and other supply chain actors, as well as re-establishing the Agricultural Cooperative Development Bank.

The recommendations want the Liberia Commodities Regulatory Authority (LACRA) work along with technical groups and key actors in the forest and agriculture sectors to regulate the prices of cocoa per grade.

It further called on government and partners to improve road network to enhance accessibility for cocoa farmers across the Country.

The recommendations also stressed the importance of the promotion of biodiversity conservation regarding farming and other aspects of the supply chain.

The recommendations were advanced at the end of a three day workshop on the promotion of Green-Cocoa model in Liberia.

The workshop was organized by the Partnership for Forests, Royal Society for the Protection of Bird, VADEMCO, Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, Ministry of Agriculture and the Forestry Development Authority, among others.

Meanwhile, the recommendations are expected to be embedded in the National Cocoa Development Strategy of Liberia.

Following the reading of the recommendations by Jacob Fonnarh, a cocoa farmer from Gbarpolu County, the Country Director of the Wild

Chimpanzee Foundation, Anika Hillers, said she was pleased to be part of the program and described the initiative as a new revolution to promoting a deforestation free cocoa production in the Country.

Madam Hillers noted that Liberia has huge portion of the forest in West Africa and stressed the importance for cocoa production to go hand in hand with conservation so that when Liberia is producing cocoa, the forest should also be conserved.

She called for collaboration among stakeholders in the forest and agriculture sectors to work towards the development of cocoa and the enhancement of conservation activities in Liberia, and lauded the various stakeholders for their participation into the process.

The Proxy of Agriculture Minister, Michael Tetoe, acknowledged the recommendations advanced by the stakeholders and noted that the agriculture sector will be revolutionized if these recommendations are accepted and put into motion.

Mr. Tetoe promised to give the recommendations to the Minister proper so that the document can be added to the National Cocoa Development Strategy to ensure a deforestation free cocoa development and production in Liberia.

Some of the farmers who attended the workshop said they were very much happy to be part of the initiative, and said they will encourage their fellow farmers to support the process.

They further urged the organizers and partners to continue to work with locals and assured their commitment to working with the government to ensure a deforestation free cocoa production in Liberia.

Also speaking, the Dean of the Forestry College at the University of Liberia, John T. Woods,said:” The college has the responsibility to promote conservation activities in the Country, and that conservation should not be compromised by cocoa development and production in Liberia.”

Professor Woods appealed to the Liberian Government and partners for more capacity building support to the Department of Forestry at the University and the Forestry Institute of Liberia to facilitate the training of more students at the two institutions in research.

 


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