Suakoko Bong County - The Chief of Party (CoP) of the ACDI-VOCA Smallholders Oil Palm Project Supports (SHOPS ll), Mr. Yarkpazuo Kolva, has disclosed that his organization is closing its projects in Liberia.
ACDI/VOCA is an international development nonprofit organization based in the United States of America.
It fosters broad-based economic growth, raises living standards, and creates vibrant communities.
ACDI/VOCA’s primary goal is to promote economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice.
Making the disclosure at an agriculture coordinating meeting at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Mr. Kolva said the meeting that SHOPS ll operated in six counties with different farming groups. He named those counties as Bong, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Nimba and rural Monsterrado.
Giving the overview of the project Mr. Kolva explained that the duration of the SHOPS ll program was for 30 months (2/1/15-8/31/17) with the overall cost of US$ 3,329,799.00 with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The overall objectives of the project, according to Mr. Kolva, is to strengthen Liberia’s smallholders oil palm sector, contribute toward agricultural growth, reduce rural poverty, and decrease deforestation activities resulting from smallholder oil palm expansion.
In a power point presentation at the meeting, Mr. Kolva said the essence of the organization’s presentation was to provide an update of SHOPS-II activities and achievements to the Bong county agriculture coordinating meeting, to show partners and farmer groups where oil palm production and processing services can be located and sought to link the County Agriculture Coordinator (CAC) and Oil Palm farmers.
He said his organization operated in four components which include, Production: nursery operations & Out- growers Plantation Schemes; Processing: Freedom Mills (FMs) Fabrication Trainings &FM Demonstrations (palm nut & kernel oil processors); Marketing: Improving market and trade capacity of oil palm and Enable Business Environment: Improve smallholder oil palm sector business enabling environment and support functions.
“As a catalyst, we work with diverse actors to empower people in the developing world to lead healthy, dignified lives,” Mr. Kolva emphasized.
He indicated that 45 nursery operators were trained to produce 200,000 improved pre-germinated oil palm seedlings sustainably; at least 125,000 seedlings produced and sold by nursery operators and planted by 500 producers; promote farmers access to oil palm process technologies in 80 communities and trained seven garages on manufacturing oil palm processing equipment.
He said SHOPS ll created jobs from commercial Nursery Operators, manufacturing and sales of processors; private sector investment in agriculture (cost sharing) production of seedlings and purchase of equipment and improve livelihood of farmers and value chain actors (Income generation).
The SHOPS ll CoP named the lack of local source of Tenera oil palm seedlings, low financial capacity of producers &processors to purchase improved oil palm seedlings, freedom mills technologies and value added enterprises and banks are reluctant to lend to smallholder farmers as some of the challenges facing the farmers.
For their part, the farmers lauded ACDI/VOCA SHOPS ll project and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the funding and knowledge and said that the oil palm farms have served as economic recovery for some of them and expressed regret over the closure of ACDI/VOCA SHOPS ll programme in the country.