Solidaridad Launches Programme to Revitalize Cocoa Sector in Liberia

Solidaridad has launched a new four-year programme targeting 5,000 smallholder cocoa farmers in Liberia with the goal to create a vibrant, competitive and profitable cocoa economy. This programme focuses on including at least 30% women and supporting the planting of about 3,800 acres of improved cocoa in the Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties.

The Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme

Years of war and neglect of cocoa farms has negatively impacted the cocoa sector in Liberia, but with a newly programme by Solidaridad, this is about to change.

The Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme was launched by the Liberian Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mogana Flomo, who encouraged cocoa farmers to embrace the programme.

“I entreat all Liberian cocoa farmers and actors to give their utmost support to this programme, as cocoa means a lot to livelihoods and our national economy."

Ceating a Vibrant, Competitive & Profitable Cocoa Economy

This four year programme is aimed at creating a vibrant cocoa economy, driven by farmer groups, associations and private sector supply chain actors, within a robust national regulatory and institutional framework.

Solidaridad’s Liberia Country Representative of MacArthur Paye-Bayee said the Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme is anchored on the experience of Solidaridad in implementing similar programmes around the world.

“With our vast experience in developing sustainable cocoa supply chains in West Africa, Solidaridad will promote yield intensification through farmer education and provision of services, and facilitate an enabling cocoa policy environment that helps to improve cocoa quality to make it attractive for the international market.”

Pictured: H.E. Hélène Cavé delivering her speech

Putting Liberia on The Sustainable Cocoa Map

European Union Ambassador H.E. Hélène Cavé said the objective of this programme is to put Liberia on the map again for sustainable cocoa production.

“We are hoping that by the end of this project we will see chocolate produced with sustainable Liberian cocoa on the shelves of supermarkets in Europe and around the World."

James Cooper, a participating farmer in the programme from Bong County, says he is already excited about the programme's approach to growing cocoa. He said:

“Now, we do not plant cocoa like our parents did. Instead, we peg the farms and inter-crop the cocoa with plantain cassava and corn. These crops will provide shade for the cocoa seedlings and provide income and food for farmers. By applying the best agronomic practices on our farms, we look forward to a  bumper cocoa harvest soon.” 

The Role of Centres for Cocoa Development

The core implementation strategy is to promote farmers’ access to a range of production support services that lead to farm intensification, rehabilitation of moribund farms, on-farm diversification, extension services through the set up and operation of Centres for Cocoa Development. Cocoa companies, farmer organizations and other supply chain actors will operate these centers in the cocoa regions as small medium enterprises to provide sustained services.

This programme falls under the EU-Liberia Agriculture Programme, which is part of the 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme for the 11th European Development Fund. It has received funding from the European Union Delegation in Liberia.

Pictured: Liberian Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mogana Flomo transplanting a cocoa seedling at the demonstration farm.

Learn more about Solidaridad's cocoa programme here.