Agriculture Minister Dr. Mogana Flomo says it was unacceptable for Liberia, as a country, to base its development in the agriculture sector on assumptions due to the lack of data.
Speaking at a one-day special plenary meeting of the National Oil Palm Technical Working Group in Monrovia, Minister Flomo said the lack of agriculture data remains a serious challenge to Liberia’s agricultural sector. Data, he asserted, is a serious problem for his ministry.
He said as a country, Liberia needs to do something about data in the agricultural sector; saying the Ministry of Agriculture is currently working on a proposal that seeks to conduct a complete survey on the Country’s agriculture sector to have evidence-based understanding of issues confronting the sector, and to jointly seek remedy by the government and partners.
He called on partners to assist the Ministry in providing the needed support to ensure that this proposed project is successfully implemented to inform the government and investors through evidence-based data about the sector.
The Agriculture Minister said oil palm remains one of Liberia’s priority crops in its Agriculture Investment Plan because of its ability to redeem the people from poverty to prosperity in line with the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
The one-day special plenary meeting of the National Oil Palm Technical Working Group was intended to discuss and identify challenges in the oil palm sector and advance possible solutions to remedy those challenges.
He thanked the UNDP for allowing the Ministry to be a part of the Green Growth Partnership that seeks to ensure sustainable oil palm production in Liberia.
The Good Growth Partnership is an initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), led by the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Green Commodities Program.
It is designed to tackle the root causes of deforestation from agriculture commodities, specifically palm oil in Liberia.
Also speaking, UNDP Deputy Country Director for program, Cleophas Torori said the presence of the Minister at the National Oil Palm Technical Working Group meeting signified the government’s willingness to take ownership and lead the Partnership.
“I think the model that is being experimented here – that links investors, producers and the market, supported by enabling legislations and policies, particularly policies that promote sustainable land use is very critical,” Mr. Torori said.
He said it was also important to build synergies with the already established Multi-Stake Holders Platforms (MSPs) that are working in different concession affected communities in Liberia and other existing groupings, working in the sector with the National Oil Palm Technical Working Group for better results.
The UNDP Deputy Country Director said UNDP looks forward and remains supportive of ensuring that the National Oil Palm Technical Working Group grows into a platform like the MSPs to seek and advance solutions to addressing issues confronting the oil palm sector.
For his part, National Bureau of Concession (NBC) Deputy Commissioner, Atty. Ramses T. Kumbuyah said it was important to ensure that Liberians are fully involved in the development of their communities, by making them owners of small farms and bringing them into the decision-making processes.