Liberia and Ghana agree to jointly develop agric sectors, IITA/STCP brokers deal

By Godwin Atser

The governments of Ghana and the Republic of Liberia have officially agreed to jointly develop, promote and implement research activities to improve the agricultural sectors of the two countries.

The agreement was forged through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by representatives of Ghana and Liberia. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, through its Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP), in collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board facilitated the development and signing of the agreement. IITA/STCP works in both countries.

The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, and the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Mr. Anthony Fofie, for Ghana, and by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Florence Chenoweth, and the Deputy Director General of CARI, Dr. Abugarshall Kai on behalf of Liberia.

Under the MoU, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and Liberia's Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) will exchange expertise, knowledge, and genetic resources (seeds and nursery development) to develop and improve the tree crops sector in Liberia. Specifically, the national research institutions of both countries will facilitate the provision of planting material as requested by either countries, make available research and training facilities and materials to visiting scientists from either institution, and provide technical expertise for the successful implementation of mutually-agreed projects.

“We are very proud to be associated with the signing of this significant agreement between Ghana and Liberia,” says John Casey, IITA/STCP Program Manager. “This MoU is a testament to our ongoing commitment to realizing a food secure and poverty-free Africa.”

“With this agreement, we envision a brighter tomorrow for farmers in both countries. This is also one way of giving back to these countries who have graciously hosted us all these years,” he adds.

Paula Bramel, IITA Deputy Director General (Research for Development) said, “We believe that this historical initiative will provide a vital link between the two countries to catalyze the exchange of knowledge and expertise that is needed to rehabilitate the agricultural sector especially of Liberia.”

Liberia is slowly rising from years of civil war that devastated its economy. IITA/STCP has been in the country since 2006 to help rebuild its agricultural sector by developing and implementing innovations geared towards raising productivity and product quality of cocoa, oil palm and rubber; strengthening farmer organizations and enhancing market opportunities in collaboration with local partners, and engaging stakeholders to address policy and institutional constraints.