Liberia Establishes First Cocoa Seed Garden.

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  • The National Cocoa Seed Garden ensures the availability of enhanced, certified, and high-quality planting supplies in order to halt cocoa seed importation.

The Liberian government’s top priority in boosting productivity in the cocoa sector continues to be the accessibility of high-quality and enhanced planting supplies for smallholder farmers. Therefore, it is crucial to construct the National Cocoa Seed Garden (NCSG) to ensure the farmers receive certified hybrid seeds of the highest quality.

To facilitate the distribution of hybrid cocoa seeds and seedlings to farmers across the nation, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have established a 75-acre cocoa seed garden in Beeplay, Buuyao District in Nimba County. The NCSG will ensure the availability of enhanced, certified, and high-quality planting supplies to stop the importation of cocoa seedlings. Over the years, Liberia has relied on its neighbors for cocoa saplings.

About 25,000 cocoa farmers in Liberia who are part of cooperatives will begin receiving the seedlings from the Center at a fair price. The Center will help to alleviate the difficulty smallholder farmers have in obtaining locally available improved cocoa hybrid seeds for planting.

Agronomist offices and a compound have been finished, and the center is also ready to roll out better agroforestry technology for cocoa as it relates to climate resilience agriculture practices to increase farmers’ incomes.

The Minister of Agriculture, Jeanine M. Cooper alongside IFAD Country Director for Liberia and Sierra Leone Pascaline Barankeba, and the IFAD Supervision Mission took a tour of the national seed garden on May 3rd to assess the significant advancements being by the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) in running the seed garden.

Minister Jeanine M. Cooper said at the end of the tour that she was very stunned by the progress of work being achieved. Other members who were part of the tour included the international Development Consultant. David Doolan, a scientist at CARI, Quoiquoi Mulbah, as well as IFAD Project Implementation Unit (PIU) Coordinator, Emmanuel G. Vah, among other dignitaries. 

According to her “The government is very much pleased about the level of transformation now taking place in the cocoa sector and we are working with international partners to ensure that Liberian cocoa competes globally”. She also buttressed the need for Liberian agriculture students to take advantage of the center to learn advanced cocoa technologies to support the sustainability effort.

Mr. Emmanuel G. Vah, the project coordinator for IFAD also said the choice of site and soil for the establishment of the seed garden were thoroughly tested and proven to be suitable, adding that the seed garden will enhance input supplies of cocoa seedlings and support other beneficiaries along the cocoa value chain.

 

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