Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme (LICSIP)

Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme (LICSIP)

Revival of cocoa as an economic sector and source of livelihood for Liberians

Today, the farmers are motivated by the new method of intercropping food crops with cocoa, which has boosted the participation of beneficiaries. They have harvested the food crop and stored up food for a period. They even sold some of the harvest and some farmers got up to 80,000 Liberian dollars cash. [approx. 436 EUR]

Sylvanus Agordorku, Farmers’ Field School Consultant

CONTEXT

Liberia’s cocoa farmers have difficulties reaching the average yields found in other West African countries with similar if not better climatic and environmental conditions suitable for cocoa production. This is due to low quality planting materials, aged and un-rehabilitated farms abandoned during the civil war, poor and improper farm management practices/skills, lack of post-harvest management skills and weak market incentive to produce quality cocoa. These problems coupled with unequal access and control of inputs and farm income by women and men has resulted in low yields.

OBJECTIVES

  • Overall objective: create a vibrant, competitive and profitable cocoa economy driven primarily by farmer groups/associations and private cocoa supply chain companies, within a robust national regulatory and institutional framework.
  • Specific Objective 1: Improved farm-level sustainable production and productivity
  • Specific Objective 2: Improved cocoa sector regulatory and institutional framework
  • Specific Objective 3: Capacity of sector governance structures enhanced
  • Specific Objective 4: Vertical market integration and access and visibility of Liberia cocoa improved
  • Specific Objective 5: New employment for youth and women created along the value chain

RESULTS

  • 2 nurseries established: About 600,000 cocoa seedlings were brought into Liberia from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. Two cocoa nurseries were established in Kowah (Bong county) and Karween (Nimba county). 300,000 seedlings were placed at each nursery where they were nursed for 6 months and later distributed to selected farmers.
  • 874 farmers (20% youth) received between 150 – 800 seedlings depending on the size of their individual farms.
  • 43 facilitators were trained and sent to various farming communities to train other farmers on module farms. 33 of those facilitators are currently conducting regular trainings at module farms in their respective communities in Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties.
  • 33 field schools have been established in various communities in Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 2 cocoa nurseries
  • 600000 cocoa seedlings
  • 874 farmers (613 men and 261 women)
  • 33 field schools

TESTIMONY

Kebbeh Dolo is working hard on her cocoa farm to support her children in school

Kebbeh Dolo, a 21-year-old youth farmer in the Nyanta Community, which is located 50 kilometer from Gbarnga the Capital City of the County, is a vegetable farmer engaged with the production of bitter balls (garden eggs) and hot pepper. Speaking during an engagement with field staff, Kebbeh pointed out that she joined the cocoa programme of Solidaridad with a specific objective. “I want to plant a crop that will continue to give me money to support my children in school” Kebbeh said.

According to Kebbeh, vegetable farmers in the community have to do fresh brushing every season because the crop died out after harvest.  “Cocoa is a long term money making crop. This is why I am working hard to benefit from the Solidaridad programme”, she noted.

The youth farmer said she was working hard to make sure the programme of Solidaridad benefit her family. “Some farmers received 450 seedlings but I worked hard to prepare my field to get more, and I received 697 seedlings this year, and I am preparing to get more next year”.

Kebbeh planted the required food crops on her farm for temporary shade for her cocoa and she is preparing for the next planting season.  According to the young female farmer who is a mother of three young children, the alternative livelihood has already started paying off. “We ate the first harvest of maize because it was not sufficient. I want to process the second harvest to have seeds to replant the next season. I will also sell some of the seeds to other farmers”. Kebbeh concluded.