LIBERIA – Solidaridad, an international civil society, has announced the construction Liberia’s first post-war cocoa Greenhouse aimed at enhancing the quality of cocoa production and propelling Liberia into agricultural competitiveness.
In Liberia, cocoa is among the main cash crops and foreign exchange earners besides rubber, oil palm, and timber.
However, Liberia is overall still a small cocoa producing country, with an annual production of approximately 9,000 metric tons and low average yields of 200 kg/ha, which is almost a third of what is produced by neighbouring countries.
The Cocoa Value Chain Development Program (COVADEP), funded by the EU, is channelling resources to construct the modern cocoa greenhouse, providing Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) the much-needed tools to conduct impactful research that will boost the sector.
Dr. Victor Sumo, the Director General of CARI, highlighted the numerous challenges the institute has faced, including a lack of research infrastructure, insufficient staff capacity, and weak research extension linkages.
However, with the support from Solidaridad West Africa and the EU, the CARI director noted that these obstacles are being addressed.
Dr. Sumo expressed optimism, stating, “CARI will become a center of excellence for agricultural research, innovation, and capacity building for development. With this, we are taking a leap to achieving our desires.”
The constructed cocoa greenhouse is a tangible manifestation of this support, aligning with CARI’s Strategic Plan, which envisions the institute as a hub for agricultural research excellence.
The mission of CARI is to contribute to increased productivity, commercialization, and competitiveness in the agricultural sector.
The greenhouse is expected to play a crucial role in achieving these goals by providing a conducive environment for crop studies and fostering innovation in agronomic practices.
Marvin Samuel, the Program Manager of COVADEP, emphasized the significance of this initiative in advancing agricultural research along the cocoa value chain.
He stated, “The provision of a cocoa greenhouse to CARI will positively impact crop studies, leading to new and improved agronomic practices. We are glad that we can be a part of this huge contribution that will directly benefit cocoa producers and processors.”
The project’s total cost is estimated at US$163,000.00, underscoring the commitment of Solidaridad West Africa and the EU to Liberia’s agricultural development.
This financial injection is set to catalyse research activities around cocoa, offering valuable knowledge and innovation to empower farmers in enhancing their farming activities.
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