‘Liberia Lacks Agricultural Implementation’…Veep Boakai Admits

By Christiana Saywah-Jimmy

Vice President Joseph Boakai says Liberia is still faced with challenges in the full implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP).

Speaking at the start of a four-day international agriculture conference in Monrovia, Veep Boakai revealed that Liberia falls below the 10% direct budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector that is required for improvement.

The multi-stakeholder dialogue is sponsored by the Network of Peasant Organizations and Agricultural Producers in West Africa (ROPPA) in collaboration with the Farmers’ Union Network (FUN) and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Liberia’s Vice President, among other things, maintained that Liberia is still faced with weak coordination mechanism among government’s ministries and agencies despite some efforts.

The conference is aimed at increasing awareness of African governments on the commitment taken at Maputo regarding the ten percent of the national budget of each country; creating a concentration framework between farmers’ organizations and the states in West Africa as well as proposing actions to support West African governments achieve the target fixed at Maputo.

Meanwhile, Liberia is still at 2 percent of this commitment regarding support to its agricultural sector following five years of affixing its signature to the international instrument.

In his keynote address, the Honorary President of ROPPA, Mamadou Cissokho urged African countries to invest in agriculture so as to put end to hunger, poverty and disease on the continent.

Mr. Cissokho said it was time Africa became a major exporter of resources for foreign exchange and other economic earnings rather than importing what they can be grown right in the respective countries.

He warned that hunger in any country has the potential of creating instability and therefore, Africa must buckle up to ensure food security in their respective countries.

Speaking earlier, the Acting Agriculture Minister, Charles McClain, commended Liberian farmers for their tremendous efforts in the production of different kinds of food for consumption.

Welcoming the delegates on behalf of the Agriculture Minister, Dr. McClain noted that the role of farmers in Africa cannot be over stressed as they are contributing immensely to the Liberian economy and addressing the issue of poverty reduction.

The president of the Farmers Union Network of Liberia (FUN), Representative Josephine Francis said Liberia and Africa at large cannot continue to import basic food supplies with the availability of a unique climate, soil, human capital, and available land.

Representative Francis challenged African leaders to create the necessary political environment, good health care delivery and encourage globalization for farmer’s protection and ensure that they profit from their hard work.

The Maputo conference brings together Network of Farmer Organizations and producers from across Africa and is held under the theme “Multi-Stakeholders dialogue on progress achieved in West Africa”.

It can be recalled that in Maputo, Mozambique, in July 2003, African governments promised to allocate 10% of their annual national budgets to agriculture, rural development and food security by 2008. It was at this forum that African heads of states and governments of the African Union adopted the CAADP Framework and endorsed the Maputo Declaration.

The ongoing conference hosted by Liberia also commemorates the tenth anniversary of the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security, an international instrument which creates a condition of change in the agricultural sector in Africa.