Agricultural Trade


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Chief Zanzan Karwor NamedBest/Most Productive Rice Farmer for 2008
8 December 2008

Voinjama – President Ellen Johnson has lauded Liberian farmers for complementing government’s efforts to ensure that enough food is available on the Liberian market at an affordable rate. The President made particular mention of the participation of farmers throughout this year’s National Agricultural Fair in Voinjama, Lofa County.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader congratulated the winners of this year’s awards for increased food production and other agricultural sectors. The President urged farmers throughout the country not to relent in their drive to increase food production in the country.

At Saturday’s Fair, farmers were awarded prizes in various categories including best/most productive rice farmer, tuber producer, livestock farmer, farmers group, vegetable farmer, among others. The 2008 Best/Most Productive rice farmer was captured by the Chairman of the Traditional Council of Chiefs, Mr. Zanzan Karwor, while second place went to Nimba county superintendent, Mr. Robert Karmei.

First place prize for Best/Most Productive Tuber producer (cassava, potatoes, plantains, yam, etc) went to River Gee, with Grand Cape Mount and Grand Gedeh Counties coming in second and third places respectively. Margibi came first, followed by Bong and Maryland counties in food crops production.

Best/Most productive Livestock Farmer went to Lofa County in first place while Gbarpolu and Grand Kru came in second and third places. In other agricultural areas, Rivercess County was awarded first prize in Fisheries, followed by Grand Bassa and Sinoe counties.

The Distinguished Female Farmer Award was awarded to Madam Josephine Francis of Ajay farms, for best packaging of local produce. The prizes come with cash and other prizes provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. They range from rice thresher won by Chief Zanzan Karwor; Rice winnowers, fishing nets, assorted farming tools (axes, hoes, shovels, etc).

Meanwhile, Lofa county lawmaker and Co-chair of the county’s Legislative Caucus, Representative Malian Jalieba has lauded the Liberian President for the increase in agriculture production. Representative Jalieba attributed the increase to the support being provided by the Liberian government and the international community, based on representations the President has made to the country’s foreign partners. Representative Jaleeba assured the President that given the level of support, Lofa County will eventually regain its status as the Bread basket of Liberia.

This year’s National Agriculture Fair was witnessed by the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Agriculture Ministers of Mano River Union countries, the ambassadors of the United States and China, as well as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-general.

The next National Agriculture Fair, Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe announced, will be held next year in River Gee County in South-eastern Liberia.

Copyright © 2008 Liberia Government.


Mr. Dahn (holding cutlass) with a local reporter at the farm







Several Acres Oil Palm Planted in Nimba Owner Wants Others Motivated

By C.Y. Kwanue
Published: 15 October, 2008

A son of Nimba County, who returned home recently from the United States of America to manage his 100-acre of oil palm, says his aim is to help motivate other farmers in the country.

Mr. William N. Dahn, 56, told the Daily Observer at his farm on October 11, 2008 that his idea is against the backdrop of the fact that Liberia, for many years, was among the top oil palm and rubber producers in the world, but in the early 1980s and during the 14-year conflict, the country’s production accounted for only a small percentage of total global output.

Again, due to the prolonged civil crisis, the oil palm industry is presently experiencing an acute decline in production, thus placing Liberia at the bottom of the table of oil producing countries.
The apparent downward trend in oil palm production in the country has seriously claimed the attention of Mr. Dahn, who is at the moment making personal frantic efforts to revive the country’s oil palm industry.

Mr. Dahn, a Liberian who recently returned home after living for many years in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States of America (USA), said he returned home “for good” to manage an oil palm plantation in order to remain focused in contributing meaningfully to the post-conflict reconstruction of war-torn Liberia.

“Though everyone is a politician by trade, for now, that is not my objective, because I returned home upon the advice and consent of Nimba former County Attorney, G. William Kai, Sr. and David Queglay, also a well-to-do farmer in Nimba. The two men encouraged me to come and venture into farming. Already, with the help of the townspeople, Atty. Kai has provided me a 100-acre of land for oil palm production,” Mr. Dahn told our senior reporter who visited the oil palm main production site on Saturday October 11, 2008.

The Zlangor Oil Palm Enterprise, according to Mr. Dahn, is at the moment operating in Gblah Town north of Bahn City, Zoe-Geh District’s Provincial Capital in Nimba County where he had prepared 40 out of the 100 acres of land for the purpose of producing palm oil for laundry soap making, etc. The 40 acres are expected to be harvested by December this year.

When the production gets going, according to Mr. Dahn, he will consult his farm manager, Morris Winpea, so that they could concentrate from the initial stage in the areas of palm oil for consumption and general soap making as the mill installed for the purpose is purchased from the local market.

The project, he said, is just about helping the rural dwellers so that together most of the residents could benefit from the harvest, adding that it could help the community by providing some of the basic social services including building of clinics and sometimes vocational training center as the Government could not do all with its limited resources.

According to Mr. Dahn, when the milling machine starts to operate, it is expected to produce at least 10 tons of fresh palm oil a day.

“The downward trend in oil palm production has also given me confidence and the muscles to employ six persons, but with many other contractors, that would find strategic solution aimed at empowering the locals to also get back to the soil to own farms and stop depending on Government for subsidy,” Mr. Dahn stated.

According to him, the idea to establish the farm was born in 2000 and since that time, most of the palms planted on the farm are now nearly ready for production. “I have installed the processing machine for the necessary production of oil here,” he said.

Mr. Dahn, who commended another son of Nimba, Prince Myers, for his continued encouragement, said he had spent a little over US$40,000 since the farm was established in 2000 to present.
With his college education, Mr. Dahn, an accountant by profession, formerly worked in Liberia as personnel manager of a logging company. He further explained that while in the States for most part of 20 years, he ran a private transport system and later got involved in income tax services, “out of which, I earned a good living, but we have to come and help our people as well.”

The Daily Observer


Open and integrated trade could very will be a great help to capacity building.  The story of the three day workshop below…


ECOWAS To Design Liberia Trade Policy
Saturday, 6th September 2008
D. Webster Cassell
 …Ends Three-Days Institutional Capacity Workshop

Liberia has been earmarked amongst other African countries to benefit a lot from ECOWAStrade negotiation capacity, which will afford the country the opportunity to arrive at basic strategies on how to interact with international investors.

With this chance on hand, the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) has consented with its objectives to design a comprehensive trade policy and decision making mechanism for Liberia. Speaking to a cross-session of journalists, the Project Coordinator of the ECOWAS Trade Negotiation Capacity Building Project, Dr. Douglas Zormelo articulated that their collective objective in Liberia is to design a trade policy as they formulate mechanism that will be inclusive and participatory.

According to Dr. Zormole the three-day institutional capacity building workshop would serve as a bench_mark as the structure would provide the policy space for dialogue amongst various stakeholders and also provide the opportunity for follow-up actions.

Dr. Zormole further explained that this is intended to ensure that the impact of policy implementation becomes the desired outcome and that it provides the relevant feedback for remedial actions where necessary.

He noted that the information gathered from the three days event would be used to initiate work on the formulation of trade policy strategy framework that will serve as a basis for a comprehensive trade policy for the country.

“We hope that the structure that will be proposed will get the necessary legal support to enable it to perform its work effectively.

Again, we are ‘counting on’ the Ministry of Commerce to spearhead the process for obtaining the necessary legal support for the committee,” ECOWAS official added.

He however revealed that once a committee is setup to implement the policy, they would proceed to implement its mandate of the ECOWAS Trade Development and of other trade ministries in the region.  In that way, he said, information will flow between countries of the region on issues such as market opportunities.

In a further explanation, he confirmed that such opportunity would deepen regional integration and the development of the region.  

Dr. Zormelo also said that prior to the request to design the country trade policy, an ECOWAS delegation had already accessed the country in terms of trade policy decision-making in the country.

He said the team also looked at the trade policy of the country, the level of participation by stakeholders in trade policy decision making, the inclusiveness of the process, the content of the country’s trade policy in relation to the development and poverty reduction strategy and the existing structures for policy decision making.

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS official said that there should be training on how to make trade policy options of our trading partners and also how to shape our trade policy to take advantage of opportunities in the international trade system.

For his part, Deputy Commerce Minister for Administration, Mr. Andrews Allakamenin said ECOWAS has been a catalyst in promoting the development of West African Countries including Liberia but not limited to trade, industry, customs, and fair tariff.

Several government officials, civil service organizations and other main line government entities attended the workshop.

 The three days educative workshop, which came to an end thursday have been praised by many of its participants. During the period, Liberians were provided basic knowledge on the need to establish a comprehensive and international standard trade policy that would improve the country investment climate.

With the given challenges in the trade industry, Liberia stands to benefit enormously from the setting up of a committee on National trade negotiation that is expected to be funded by ECOWAS with the aim of negotiating trade related issues for the country.

Accordingly, the committee and the trade policy would be an added advantage to the strengthening of the country own trade related relation that is expected to attract investors.

The Inquirer Newspaper


Commentary on sustainable development in Africa

Negotiate Tana River sugar project  

Written by Joe Ageyo  July 14, 2008:

Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni are not the best of friends – that is the impression one gets when the two men are together. But they seem to share a philosophy that is sometimes referred to as ecoskepticism.

Museveni has often dismissed the idea of Sustainable Development as a Western construct, with  little relevance to underdeveloped Africa. He is often heard saying that development is like a pregnancy and can therefore not be said to be sustainable. His point seems to be that development is an absolute concept and so is either happening or is not happening. Really?

Raila seems to agree. When asked about the proposed Tana Delta sugar project, the PM gave what is now his signature response to controversial development projects – that “your daughter must not remain a virgin if you want to have grandchildren.”

This view on the face of it seems to suggest pragmatism at its very best and a deep desire to improve the lot of the poor residents of Tana River. Yet it flies in the face of modern-day development planning principles.

First, that all “development” is good and should take place at whatever cost and secondly, that development is the same thing as economic growth. The first view is based on the notion that the western countries “developed” using the same model they are now calling unsustainable. The logic is, therefore, that Africa should gun for economic growth now and worry about the environment later.

It is predicated on the idea that Africa’s greatest problem is material poverty and so the continent must strive to “develop” at whatever cost.The second assumption is even more misguided – the idea that economic growth is an end in itself.

If that were the case, then the world’s largest economy, the USA, would not be changing governments so regularly, on account of perceived economic mismanagement. If that were the case, the world’s fastest growing economy, China, would be receiving nothing but accolades from around the world.

Yet Americans still complain of economic difficulties and several world leaders have been toying with idea of boycotting the Olympics to protest China’s human rights record.

This is simply to say that any development that does not address the total needs of a person is not development at all. This is where the controversial concept called Sustainable Development comes in.

Granted, that terminology has as many definitions as there are scholars but the most widely accepted one has to do with ‘meeting today’s needs without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.’

To that end many visionary development planners now think beyond economic growth. Sustainable Development addresses economic, social and ecological aspects.

That is to say that for development to be sustainable it must, of necessity, combine a robust economy with rich and resilient natural systems as well thriving human communities. So when some Ugandans complain about the Bujagali power project, President Museveni should not blast the World Bank and NGOs but ask himself whether provision of hydropower is necessarily more important that listening to what the people want.

What use is a multi-billion sugar project in Tana River if many of the local residents feel it is an intrusion?Granted, we all need a growing economy, we all want Vision 2030 realised even in 2010, but it is important to remember that there is life after 2030.

Many economists (not just environmentalists) are now warning that if Planet Earth was a business it would be in the red – we are simply drawing too much more from nature than it is able to replenish.

But there is now even an economic imperative for keeping a keen eye on the environment. In Tana River, leading conservationists, Nature Kenya, say the costs of the proposed project are underestimated and its potential benefits grossly overrated.

But even if it were to take off, there will be the big question of whether British consumers, for instance, who are so environmentally conscious will be willing to pay for ethanol produced under acrimonious circumstances, with possible irreversible damage to the environment.

Development must therefore be a negotiated concept where the government strives to find a place where the interests of all stakeholders meet, even if it does not guarantee the maximum economic benefit.

Ageyo is the NTV News Editor


We are looking for an editor for this category.  If you are interested, please contact J. C. Dealy at  Please include [UpCountry] in the subject line.  And thank you in advance for the interest.