Speaking at a briefing for the members of WFP’s Executive Board, Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture, James B. Logan, praised the contributions of the innovative initiative to agricultural development in the post-conflict country.
Deputy Minister Logan described the effects P4P is having in Liberia: “Through P4P, our farmers are making a real progress. We see this progress each time we visit them. Farmers are increasing their yields, they are growing new varieties; they are adopting improved post-harvest processing practices, they are having access to improved warehouse facilities and processing machinery; and their business skills are improving.”
The former Country Representative for Action Aid International in Liberia has extensive experience in agricultural economics and has worked in Liberia before, during and after the conflict that shook the country for over a decade. He says that projects like P4P are helping to restore and strengthen peace in the country: “P4P is helping farmers to work together; trust one another; increase their social capital and their ability to negotiate good prices. This has positive implications for the consolidation of peace at the community level.”
Deputy Minister Logan underlined the importance of rebuilding the agricultural sector in Liberia: “Agriculture plays an important role in the overall development of the Liberian economy and the livelihood of its people. It provides livelihood to more than 70 percent of the population, majority being women and living in rural areas. Agriculture’s contribution to GDP was 42 percent in 2009. Our country is blessed with enough fertile arable land and climatic conditions that favor agricultural production. However, it is a well known fact that as a post conflict country, Liberia is facing enormous tasks in reviving its agricultural sector.”
The Deputy Minister also pointed out that the initiative has the full support of the Government: “P4P is helping to accelerate the recovery of the agricultural sector. We believe in it; and as a government, we’re supporting it; and we’ll want to go on with it beyond the pilot phase.”
Liberia is one of 21 countries where WFP is searching for new ways to use its procurement power to help smallholder farmers in developing countries – one part of the P4P initiative that is accompanied by activities of partners such as FAO and UNDP who supply farmers with trainings and equipment and help them access inputs and credit.