The Liberian leader also commended Liberian farmers for making Liberia a food secured nation as compared to depending on the traditional extractive resources of rubber, iron ores and timber in the development of the country.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the Klay Agricultural Vocational Training Center in Klay District, Bomi County when she launched the Liberia Agricultural Transformation Agenda (LATA), e-Registration of Farmers in Liberia.
President Sirleaf said with the drop in prices of rubber and iron ores, there was a need to diversify the nation’s infrastructural development with investment in the agricultural sector. “I am glad that today so many Liberians are into farming activities, producing rice, cassava and many others,” President Sirleaf noted at the launching.
She said the good thing about large scale oil palm plantation is that as you plant more, the investor would begin to think about building a factory for processing, which lead to job-creation once processing begins. President Sirleaf said it is because of these reasons that Liberians are now seeing Sime Darby in the western region of Liberia, covering Bomi, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu Counties and Golden Veroleum in the Southeast.
She said the presence of these large oil palm companies would therefore be of great help to small farmers in cocoa, coffee and oil palm, because those large companies will buy their goods.
She indicated that because of this, the real challenge now is for Liberia to be able to “feed herself and ensure food security”. She said in this direction, Liberian farmers should be able to produce enough food for themselves that they can eat and sell, thus reducing the pressure on rubber and iron ore.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf registered during the e-registration launch on Saturday, May 21, 2016 in Klay District, Bomi County.
For his part Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah said the e-Registration process is the real beginning of a revolution in transforming the country for the better. Minister Zinnah said even though President Sirleaf may not see the realization of the benefits of the process now, but, after retiring, the result will be visible for everyone to see and remember her leadership.
Minister Zinnah said the process targets 150,000 farmers in all 15 counties with the aim of collecting information that would lead to linking farmers to service providers across Liberia; ensuring accountability; and checkmating non-governmental organizations to Liberians and donors that are giving them funding to do certain things in Liberia.
He commended all of Liberia’s donor partners including the African Development Bank, and especially President Sirleaf, for her commitment in supporting the sector. He said when President Sirleaf leaves, the process will remain irreversible and its benefits will be realized immensely.
For his part, Bomi County Superintendent Samuel Brown praised his kinsmen for making more farms in Bomi County, and called on the government to ensure that all districts across the 15 counties of Liberia are mandated to prioritize farming if food security should be achieved. He said every district in Liberia should set aside 100 acres of land for farming purposes.
The e-Registration platform creates a standard data-base using a system that is up-scalable to include GPS coordinates or other relevant information that can support providing services to farmers with a view of increasing their skills and financial autonomy. The process started on March 21, 2016 and in approximately 45 working days, 149,865 farmers were registered.
The activity is being carried out in over 200 registration centers across the country by enumerators, using tablets, with the involvement of MOA staff and community members to ensure trustworthiness of information that will be voluntarily provided by farmers.
The ceremony was graced by senior government officials, partners as well as citizens of Bomi County.