Speaking at the High-Level Awareness Raising and Launch of the Project Enhancing the Enabling Environment for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems in Liberia, Plambeck said the funds are mainly intended to implement pilot projects in chosen countries to develop and test strategies to improve food and security.
“The project we are launching today is actually a pilot project being implemented in three countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Laos. And Liberia was chosen as a very obvious candidate because of its vast, but largely untapped agricultural potential,” the German diplomat added.
According to him, having good soil and plenty of rainfall in much of the country, Liberia could not only easily feed her own population, but could become the breadbasket of much of West Africa as well.
He disclosed that Liberia is currently importing much of its food, so there were plenty of good reasons to choose Liberia for the pilot project.
Plambeck emphasized that to achieve the goals of food self-sufficiency and food surplus at a later time, as well as large-scale investment, public and private entities will be required, nothing that investors will no doubt come once the conducive framework requirements are met.
“Once the overall responsibility for improvement of the investment climate and correct channelling of investments is done with the Liberia government, the FAO project with German support, will be able to make a valuable contribution showing the right path towards achieving this end, Plambeck noted.
He explained that the results of this project in Liberia and the other two pilot countries as well, are intended to impact positive stimuli for many other countries in the future, citing that Liberia can consider itself to be a real frontrunner in the sector.
He asserted that countries should recognize the fact that raising the level of agricultural output requires significant investment, adding that investment can also cause serious detrimental effects, if not implemented in a responsible way.
Plambeck said demographic growth and climate change are likely to affect food security on the planet in the medium and long term, stating that a growing population will require more food, whereas changing climatic conditions will tend to have a negative effect on production by causing drought in some areas and flooding in others.
He said it is vital to tackle these challenges now, and, on the other hand, by curtailing excessive population growth and mitigating the effect of climate change as well as increasing agricultural production wherever possible.