Economic policy

USAID Economic Policy Dialogue Hosts Liberia Cocoa Value Chain Capacity Training – FrontPageAfrica

MONROVIA — The Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue activity launched a four-day training workshop for key civil society organizations in Monrovia.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the training, which is led by the Accra-based African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), aims to increase the technical skills of selected local CSOs to help overcoming the binding constraints to Liberia’s growth. cocoa value chain.

Local CSOs include the Center for Democratic Governance, the Institute for Democratic Research and Development, and the Center for Policy and Action Research (CePAR).

The organizers say the aim of the workshop is to identify and learn appropriate approaches to designing research, conducting field research and analysis, and implementing strategies with partner CSOs and other stakeholders.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the workshop in Monrovia on Tuesday, Senator Jim W. Tornonlah, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, said the cocoa sector in Liberia is essential and could lift hundreds of people out of poverty when exploited in an acceptable way. .

“It is clear that Liberia has challenges, food insecurity, poor management of the agricultural sector and you know nations that cannot feed themselves cannot develop easily,” he said.

Senator Tornolah believes that the main stumbling block to the progress of the cocoa sector in Liberia is the acute lack of access to finance coupled with numerous regulations that have yet to be structured into law.

“In the 1980s the sector was getting stronger but there is no more finance for small cocoa farmers to get loans” warning “the sector is in trouble and will continue to struggle due to lack of finance”.

The Margibi County senator, meanwhile, revealed that the Senate Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Committee was considering many things, including a proposal for a joint meeting on agriculture to review sector policies and turn them into laws.

The Liberia Economic Policy Dialogue activity is a four-year USAID-funded technical assistance, capacity development, and grants project focused on promoting self-reliance by stimulating private sector led economic expansion in Liberia.

This week’s training workshop under the project specifically targets gender mainstreaming, value chain, political economy and policy analysis, communication audit and visibility strategy, as well as data collection approaches.

Deputy Director General for Administration and Finance of the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA), Roland K Mendscole, in his remarks at the opening of the training, expressed frustration at the “inadequate support” which, according to itself, hinders the expansion of the cocoa sector and renders the monitoring of LACRA ineffective.

“Inadequate support to LACRA hampers the sector and we are unable to execute regulatory governance, thus allowing people to engage in the illicit cocoa trade across the country”

“Without a regulatory framework, we will all continue to hang around the industry,” he warned.

Mr. Mebdscole said LACRA is grateful to USADI for supporting such a capacity expansion initiative, but stressed that more funding is needed to empower small cocoa farmers who are poised to deliver prosperity. economic.