Gbarnga, Bong County – The China-Liberia Agriculture Corporation Project Team (CLATCPT), based at the China-aided Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center in Suakoko, Bong County has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kpatawee Farmer Based Organization to enhance agriculture production in the famous Kpatawee waterfall area in Bong County.
The China-Liberia Agriculture Corporation Project Team comprised of professionals brought to the center by the Chinese Government to support the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Agriculture Research Institute to enhance agriculture technology and sustainability of agriculture development in Liberia, whereas the Kpatawee Farmer Based Organization (KFBO), is local agriculture production group based Kpatawee Clan, and is looking forward to including Chinese advanced and new technology and varieties to improve agricultural production and increase food yield.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the vice general manager of the center, Kobe Zhang, said the agriculture exchange and technological cooperation has gained some successful experience to consolidate, develop and strengthen cooperation in the fields of agriculture production and trainings.
“This memorandum aims to establish a framework for cooperation and understanding in order to promote agricultural technology and further strengthen bilateral cooperation and technical training, demonstration, extension and farm development. We will achieve the objectives of this MOU through regular consultations and that assurance has been demonstrated since the construction of this center”
“This agricultural technology exchanges and cooperation partnership focuses on farm development which includes rice and vegetable production, training and exchanges of practical technology of agriculture and introduction of new agricultural technology and varieties and research demonstration among others” Mr. Zhang emphasized.
As part of the MOU, the Kpatawee Farmer Based Organization and the China-Liberia Agriculture Corporation Project Team also witnessed an Agriculture Production Repurchase Contract.
He said the center will provide agriculture inputs and technical support to the farmers.
Mr. Zhang said, production, post-harvest and market demands will plans are as well as storage facility are major priorities in the agreement to increase farm production in Kpatawee.
He explained that the partnership project in Kpatawee is part of the sustainability aspect of the agriculture demonstration center.
“It is important to invest in food and we promised to support the farmers in Kpatawee in their endeavor to enhance self-sufficient in food production.
The Center is a major research and training ground for Liberians venturing into agricultural activities. It contains machineries such as tractors, hand rollers, rice mills and other essential equipment for agriculture productivity”.
“Since the establishment of the Center by the Chinese agriculture technicians, there have been numerous training opportunities for several Liberians in the areas of animal husbandry, machine operation and other agriculture related exercises”, Mr. Zhang concluded.
Speaking earlier, Suakoko district Commissioner, Nawayah Darworkalah thanked the management of the center and Chinese government for its continual support to the Liberia’s agricultural sector.
Commissioner Darworkalah appealed to the Center heads to explore more visible agriculture initiatives in the County particularly, in the Kpatawee area, appealing to the Chinese to prioritize tilling of the soil for the production of more food in Liberia and provision of scholarship for Liberian students to study in China, assuring the Chinese of the his district readiness to working with the center in strengthening the capacity of farmers in the county.
Also speaking during the signing ceremony, the co-chair of the Kpatawee Farmer Based Organization Christopher Vatiker lauded the management of the center and said the community is fully prepared to support the project.
For his part, the Director General of the Central Agriculture Research Institute, Dr. Walter Wiles lauded the Chinese for being far-sighted in their endeavors.
Dr. Wiles said CARI will closely work with China-Liberia Agriculture Corporation Project Team and citizens of Suakoko and the entire Bong County to improve food production.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Deputy Minister for Regional Development, Research and Extension, Thomas Gbokie, expressed his appreciation to the Chinese Government for giving valuable assistance to Liberia's post-war reconstruction, especially in agriculture sector, with a view of teaching the local people how to fish.
Deputy Minister Gbokie said the partnership will enable the local farmers to master modern farming technology, which is of great importance in helping Liberians achieving the goal self-sufficiency in food.
“The establishment of this Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center continues to help farmers in the areas of training, thus promoting the development of agriculture in Liberia. While carrying out research and training in agriculture, the Center is not only helping local farmers, but agro technicians who areexploring how to operate in a commercial, sustainable and mutually beneficial way in Agriculture”
Deputy Minister Gbokie lauded the Chinese Government for the continuous efforts in support of Liberia's agricultural development, citing, the Hybrid Rice Production at Booker Washington Institute (BWI), Kpatawee Rice Project as well as the Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center in Bong County, among others.
He said stressed that investing in food and agriculture is very important and promised to support the Chinese in their venture to make the country self-sufficient in food.
Deputy Minister Gbokie lauded the efforts of the Chinese Government in helping to promote agriculture in the country, indicating that CARI is a major research and training ground for Liberians venturing into agriculture.
“The Ministry of Agriculture will closely work with the citizens of Suakoko, Bong County to improve production and by ensuring that our country is food secure to minimize the high rate of importation in the country,” Minister Gbokie pledged.
The signing ceremony of the two agreements was recently held at the China – Liberia Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center on CARI and was graced by several officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and local government officials, who commended the Chinese highly for supporting agriculture research and development as well as partnering with the farmers in Kpatawee.