The Liberian Ministry Agriculture (MoA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a US $1.537m national cocoa seed garden. The MoU, which was signed through its Tree Crop Extension Project – TCEP, is with the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI).
The first national cocoa seed garden will guarantee the availability of improved, certified and quality planting materials (seeds and seedlings) for smallholder cocoa farmers, village nurseries and privately owned nursery farmers across the 15 counties of Liberia. According to media reports, the creation of the cocoa seed garden will reduce the challenges faced by farmers in the cocoa sector, especially as regards Liberia’s reliance on the importation of cocoa seedling.
The Director General at CARI, Dr. Marcus Jones, stated that the seed garden would put an end to the importation of poor quality cocoa seedlings. He further added that the exercise is expected to build the capacity of the cocoa sector in line with the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda.
Similarly, the Project Coordinator of the Tree Crop Extension Project (TCEP), Mr. Emmanuel G. Vah has emphasized the need for service providers and for farmers to be hands-on in making cocoa farming a reality. He further expressed thanks to partners for the implementation of the project.
The project is designed to reach at least 11,000 beneficiaries. Of these are 8,000 smallholder cocoa producers who are members of cooperatives and farmers from Field Schools (FFS). It is also projected to create access to the road for 2,400 farmers. This is in addition to enhancing input supplies and market linkages and other assistance to the beneficiaries along the value chain.