Solidaridad launches new cocoa and oil palm programs
Solidaridad, a non-governmental organization over the weekend launched two new agricultural programs in Liberia.
The programs dubbed the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP) and the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme (SWAPP) target over 42, 000 smallholder farmers in the cocoa and oil palm sectors.
The programs will provide best agronomic practices and institutional support to increase farmers’ incomes in the two sectors.
Strategy under CORIP is centered on large-scale adoption of sustainable cocoa production. This will happen through facilitating access to finance for the setting up and operations of service delivery enterprises within the cocoa landscape in West Africa. These service delivery enterprises will provide farmers with quality inputs and technical services for improved production.
Also, SWAPP implementation in Liberia aims at scaling up sustainable oil palm production and investment in efficient mills. SWAPP’s components include demonstrations on Best Management Practices (BMPs) at farm and mill levels, support Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification processes, facilitate access to finance, strengthen multi-stakeholder platforms to influence policy and mitigate social and environmental impact.
The Embassy of the Netherlands in Accra, Ghana founded the 3.8 million euros projects. The programs will end in December 2021.
Speaking at the launch of the programs, Ron Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said that outgrowing of cocoa and oil palm can be more sustainable depending on a good environmental approach and a good working condition that addresses the elimination of child labor.
“The message from the consumers of chocolate in the Netherlands is more about where the chocolate is coming from and whether it is being produced under good circumstances,” said Ambassador, Strikker.
He said that the Netherlands partnership with Solidaridad is to help deliver services to farmers in a modern way that will result in higher productivity, more sustainability, increase profits, and reduce land space for cultivation. He said that these priorities must work in the framework of climate change.
Isaac Gyamfi, Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, said his institution seeks to impact smallholder farmers through the promotion of best practices that enhance production, and profitability, development of a robust infrastructure framework and the development of resilient landscape management system. He added that Solidaridad supports the development of enabling policy context and environment.
Sr. Policy Specialist, Anthony Kesselly who represented Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, said Solidaridad has stepped in the quest to boost the government goal of poverty alleviation and overall social-economic development. He said that the Liberian Government is not yielding to temptations to relegate the sector in favor of some quickly fixed issues.
Also, Agriculture Minister, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo Jr., said that the cocoa and oil palm sectors are areas of priority in the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (LASIP) and the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture will create the enabling environment to make the agriculture sector thrive.
The Cocoa Programme Manager of Solidaridad- Liberia, Boima Bafaie who gave the overview of the two programs said that Solidaridad-West Africa is implementing the projects in Liberia guided by the institution experience with similar interventions in Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria.
Bafaie said the CORIP will be implemented in Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties and the SWAPP will be implemented in Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Nimba Counties.
Solidaridad operates in five continents through Regional Expertise Centers (RECs). In West Africa, Solidaridad operates in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Solidaridad-West Africa manages programs and projects in the sustainable production of cocoa, oil palm, maize and gold in the focus countries.