MoA ends organizational management capacity building and knowledge-sharing forums for farmers-based organizations, cooperatives, and agribusinesses
The meetings were held in regional clusters and began in the west on August 21, 2022, with Bomi, Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu counties. Thirty participants attended the two days event that broadened their knowledge and understanding of agribusiness. The second meeting took place on August 26 and 27, 2022 in Ganta, Nimba County, and brought together 35 participants from Lofa, Margibi, and Nimba Counties.
The Ministry of Agriculture, through its Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) organized the forums. STAR-P is funded by the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project focuses on the oil palm, rice, and vegetable value chains and is implemented in Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, and Lofa counties. Other counties include Margibi, Maryland, Nimba, and Sinoe.
Operations Manager of STAR-P Stephen Marvie, speaking to participants in Ganta, said the forum was necessary to prepare for the new norm of agriculture. “The end game is to encourage our farmers to develop the attitude of doing agriculture as a business. If we can achieve this, we are sure of developing several millionaires over a period,” he said.
Marvie further added that the MoA had organized the forums to increase understanding of the matching grant available under the project. “We have sent most of the grant proposals back for it to be rewritten because they lack some of the core requirements. Because the funds are here to benefit you, we want to avoid the situations where people get delayed or denied for simple issues that we see, even though they are qualified to receive the grants. That is one of the reasons why we are holding these meetings,” Marvie said.
He also encouraged agriculture stakeholders to seek support and guidance from the project’s County Focal Persons (CFPs) and Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) in their quest to accelerate their agribusiness activities.
Several resource persons from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Cooperative Development Agency (CDA), Farmers Union Network (FUN), the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), and the University of Liberia (UL) facilitated the meetings, speaking on various topics. Topics treated included Cooperative Governance and Structures, farming as a business for smallholder farmers, basic issues of cooperative management, and fundamental financial management and practices for farmers.