- The Liberian authorities have expressed unwavering support to small farmers saying they are critical in poverty alleviation through agriculture-led strategies.
Vice-President Joseph Boakai and UN Deputy Envoy Moustapha Soumaré said smallholder farmers’ play a vital role in guaranteeing food security and alleviating poverty in Liberia, calling for increased investment in smallholder farming.
“Farmers are the key stakeholders who must benefit from attractive incentives, and other inducements to motivate them towards increasing production,” Vice-President Boakai said.
Mr Boakai also said that agriculture export and trade promotion are at the heart of contemporary relations among countries, stating that farmers have become the key drivers of this phenomenon in Africa.
Mr Soumaré on the other hand said farmers need land and secure water supplies, inputs and extension services for enhanced agricultural production. “They also need better market access and fairer trade. Our job is not just to feed the hungry, but to empower the hungry to feed themselves,” the UN official said.
He stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to the global food problem, emphasising that food is a basic right, which all must enjoy.
He called for support for national food security strategies, joint investment, accountability, and building of trust among stakeholders, to ensure that food is available and affordable to all.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative in Liberia, Winfred Hammond, gave worrisome statistics of the effects of starvation around the globe, and urged donors and governments to devote more resources to the fight against hunger.
Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, but it became better known in the 1990s for its long-running civil war and its role in a rebellion in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
The West African nation was relatively calm until 1980 when William Tolbert was overthrown by Sergeant Samuel Doe after food price riots.
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