Ministry of Agriculture and FAO host workshop on seed policy in Liberia
Monrovia, Oct. 7, 2011 – Key stakeholders from the agriculture sector in Liberia met this week to discuss a seed policy for Liberia. The discussions took place during a two-day workshop at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Bong County. The workshop was co-hosted by The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and it was funded by the European Commission.
As pointed out by Deputy Agriculture Minister for Planning and Development, Mr James Logan, “The agriculture sector is like a car in movement. We don’t stop and change the whole car but only pause and fix relevant problems and parts as we go along”. Mr Logan was referring to the substantial progress that has already been made in the field of agriculture, which was severely affected by the Liberian Civil War. The development of a coherent seed policy is considered an additional step forward.
Liberia last year produced the first quality foundation seeds in the country’s history. The sector does, however, largely depend on import of seeds. According to Deputy Agriculture Minister for Technical Services, Mr Sizi Subah, Liberia last year imported 200 MT of seed rice, worth 400 million USD. “Imagine if we could allocate even just half of that into domestic development!” Mr Subah added.
The seed policy is intended to guide the work of the MoA and its partners in developing quality foundation seeds for Liberian farmers and thereby support the ongoing efforts to improve food security in the country. FAO has employed a seed specialist, Dr Robert Chakanda, who has been working with CARI to develop foundation seeds since the beginning of 2011. The seed policy workshop is facilitated by Mr Samuel Kugbei; a FAO Seed Policy Specialist with extended international experience in developing seed policies.
Stakeholders from the MoA, CARI, NGOs, seed growers and farmers participated in the workshop. The idea of having a Liberian seed policy was widely accepted during the workshop. All workshop participants actively engaged in the discussions that will lay the foundation for the development of the policy. It is expected, that a first draft of the policy will be submitted by the end of the year.
For Additional Information: Mr. Tiago de Valladares Pacheco, Emergency Coordinator – FAO.