Mr. Jlopleh Dennis Weigbah, Jr, who is the Director for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) at the Ministry of Agriculture, said RETRAP seeks to increase income of rural poor households through sustainable agricultural livelihood enhancements and improved rural access and agricultural marketing infrastructure services.
According to him, as its focus, the project will support the value chains of cassava, Rubber, Poultry & Pig husbandry and Vegetables also the project will be implemented in 11 of the 15 counties over a period of five years.
He furthered that the project development objective is to increase income of rural poor households through sustainable agricultural livelihood enhancements and improve rural access to agricultural marketing infrastructure services.
Mr. Weigbah made the statement Thursday, October 14, 2021 in Benton City, Montserrado County at a start a Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP) Sanitization Workshop, which was held under the theme: “Transforming Agriculture for Sustainable Food Security and income Generation in Vegetables, Cavasava, Poultry, Piggery, and Rubber”.
The main objective of the workshop was to sensitize or create awareness among the eleven (11) projects targeted counties on RETRAP activities and implementation. The workshop highlighted or outlined the value chains for each project participating county, key activities, roles/contributions of beneficiaries in project implementation, opportunities, benefits, etc.
The workshop was participatory to provide equal opportunities for everyone to express his/her opinion and seek clarification, which would promote better understanding and appreciation of the project.
He said that the project addresses important challenges to developing agro-food value chains in Liberia. Including, weak capacity of support institutions for delivery of agribusiness services: poor organization of smallholder farmers; (ii) low agriculture productivity due to limited access to improved technologies, modern inputs, and advisory services; (iii) weak access to markets due to inadequate post-harvest, transport, and marketing infrastructure; and (iv) limited private sector investment in production, processing capacity and value-added activities.
“To address these challenges, the project will contribute to creating long-term economic opportunities for value chain actors by applying a three-fold approach: strengthen critical institutions overseeing the development of the sector; intervene at various level of the supply chain via capacity building and investment subprojects focused on improving agriculture productivity and resilience of the food system to climate change, thus enhancing market access; and improvement of rural access and agricultural marketing through the upgrading of roads, construction of short-span critical cross-drainage structures, and improvement of agro-logistics centers,” he added.
Commenting on the Project Components, Mr. Weigbah mentioned that it will Improve the enabling environment for agribusiness development in Liberia will also improve the enabling policy and regulatory environment necessary for private businesses to increase investment and commercial activities by enhancing delivery of quality support services that can foster an inclusive and competitive development of the sector.
He pointed out that, “This component will finance combinations of specialized technical assistance, training, works, goods, consulting and non-consulting services, and operational expenses.”
Speaking further, he asserted that participants to the workshop are people and institutions/organizations who, in one way or another, may have influence on the successful implementation of the project in the project counties. They include farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, farmer groups, local and traditional leaders, women and youth groups (representatives), and representatives of institutions (NGOs, CSO, Private actors, etc.).
Mr. Wiagbeh indicated that RETRAP will mobilize the participation and contributions of all relevant persons and institutions/organization to ensure county-level project effectiveness.
He, however, stressed that county-level sensitization workshop is inclusive and participatory, and will ensure that every participant has the chance to learn, contribute and to be heard, adding that for facilitation convenience, the 11 project counties will be arranged in three (3) regions, with the regional workshop held in each county – accessible and convenient.
He named the regions and their counties as Region 1: Maryland, Sinoe, Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh Region 2: Nimba, Bong and Margibi Region 3: Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Montserrado and Grand Bassa.
He also said a secretariat will be set up and supported to cover the events of the workshop sessions, compile and submit sessional and comprehensive reports to the RETRAP design team.
Program of event and cost per workshop will be developed and submitted for review and approval by the Minister of Agriculture and the World Bank.
Mr. Wiagbeh said the targeted value chains by project county include, Cavasava, eight counties, including Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa,Grand Gedeh ,Lofa, Maryland and Nimba Counties.
For rubber, he named seven counties including Bomi,, Bong,. Montserrado, Nimba and Sinoe Counties. For poultry, he also named BBOMI, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Margibi and Montserrado Counties.
He further said Bomi, Cavasava, Rubber and Vegetables and Grand Bassa target value chains project and Ggrand Cape Mmount will also have cavassa,poultry,piggery and vegetables while Montserrado will have rubber, poultry and piggery.