Empowering farmers, engaging in commercial farming
The Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), and the Government of Liberia (GoL), through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), with funding from the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the One Tree Planted, officially launched the Piso Community Agroforestry Project in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County. The launching ceremony which took place on July 2, 2022, at the RobertSport City Hall, opens the corridor for a two-year project that aims to allow SCNL to achieve its restoration and Agroforestry program in support of Liberia’s 66,600 trees restoration target while providing livelihood incentives for community stewards in the Protection and Management of the Lake Piso Multiple Sustainable Use Reserve in the county.
Launching the project was Hon. C. Mike Doryen, Managing Director, Forestry Development Authority (FDA). He thanked WRI and One Tree Planted for including Liberia in its grant portfolio under its African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) to 100million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. He praised SCNL for its commitment to staying focused during ‘good and bad times. “SCNL was established in 1986 and has been a pioneer in the conservation business, which makes it the oldest Liberian Conservation Institution. SCNL is very committed, that’s why they’re one of our best partners in the forest sector. So, today, there is a project for Grand Cape Mount County to plant 60,600 trees, and the FDA is happy to provide support for the implementation of the project,” Mr. Doryen said.
He told the citizens of Grand Cape Mount County that the project is huge, and when it is achieved, it will change the face of the city and the county as a whole. “Cocoa and cashew nuts are two of the world’s leading agriculture products now, and when you plant these trees, in the next, few years, you will start making money from them. The benefit of this project will also be the more trees planted, it will help to reduce all the bad air from cars… allows the citizens to breathe clean and fresh air, and creates jobs for the youth”.
The managing director also extended appreciation to the people for working together for the growth of their county. “You’re positive, respectful, and have self-confidence. Some of Liberia’s great leaders were produced in this county. Thank you for your county, and country. So, on behalf of President, George Weah, and the Chairman of the board of Directors, FDA, Mr. Harrison Karnwea, I am pleased to officially launch the project, and I wish you all a successful implementation,” he concluded.
Speaking earlier, SCNL Project Coordinator, Joe Gartor told the gathering that five communities will be benefiting from the project, and close to 40 farmers will receive training on how to grow vegetables and cash crops. He named Cocoa, cashew, and coconut among other crops expected to be planted.
Mr. Michael F. Garbo, SCNL Executive Director, provided the purpose of the project. He said after SCNL worked with the youth, through the UNDP-sponsored Eco-Brigade Project aimed at cleaning the city of Robertsport, which is still ongoing, SCNL wrote a proposal to WRI, to get funding for the planting of the trees. “We never forget Robertsport after the Eco-Brigade Project, we went out, looked for more projects, and SCNL was successful, and today, we are launching the project. SCNL, as an implementing partner is depending on everyone, the communities, and the county’s leadership for the success of this project. Let’s work together for a successful implementation of the project for the next two years,” Mr. Garbo shared.
Hon. J. Edwin Korha, Robertsport Mayor, and others made positive remarks in welcoming the project and pledged their support; in one of the remarks, Clan Chief, Yayah W. Sombai of Lower Tombey, said his clan is ready to work with SCNL for the implementation of the project. “Let’s provide the land for this project. Don’t say you’re not providing the land because it is for your grandchildren. My clan has the land already, and we are ready to work along with SCNL for the trees to be planted; we thank WRI and One Tree Planted for this opportunity for our people”.
Abraham Tumbey, Program Coordinator, Inclusive and Green Growth, thanked SCNL, FDA, City Mayor Korha, Superintendent, and the people of Grand Cape Mount County for the support. He encouraged the citizens to accept the project. “I am happy to be here today because this project is more than interesting, every crop you are about to plant is for you, [the community members]. It is a project that will also be beneficial for the next generations…while you’re planting these cash crops, the agricultural component of this project will allow people from the Ministry of Agriculture to train farmers on different agriculture farming. This is an opportunity for the leadership of the county to work with SCNL because when this project is successful, it means, other counties can benefit from it”.
Michael E. Taire, SCNL Program Manager, in a closing remark, acknowledged the presence of special invitees, the County leadership, and representatives from the various communities for attending the launch and pledging their support; he also thanked the World Resources Institute, and One Tree Planted for providing funds for the project.