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PRESS RELEASE

New Liberian Tree Crop Rehabilitation Project to Benefit 26,000 Farming Household Members

June 5, 2012

Support Ranges From Access to Finance, Inputs, Markets, and Technologies, to Institutional Building, Rehabilitation of Critical Farm Access Roads and Securing Land Use Rights

Washington, June 5, 2012 – The Liberian Government has received a US$15 million credit from the World Bank to increase access to finance, inputs, technologies and markets for smallholder tree crop farmers in Liberia, and to develop a long term development program for the tree crops sector. This Smallholder Tree Crops Revitalization Support Project (STCRSP) would be implemented over a period of four years in several districts of Liberia’s main tree crop producing counties.
 
"Over the last two years, we have been assisting the Government of Liberia in developing mechanisms for supporting the Liberian smallholder tree crop farmers in rehabilitating their tree crop farms," Ms. Inguna Dobraja, Country Manager for Liberia said.  She added that: "this project, which will promote productive activities in agriculture in support of the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, will also serve as the preparation stage for a future long term program aimed at restoring a vibrant tree crop sector in Liberia, generating rural incomes and employment opportunities in the rural areas."
 
The World Bank Executive Board of Directors approved this International Development Association (IDA*) credit on Tuesday, June 5. The project constitutes the learning phase of a longer term and larger scale tree crop development program. It will test different rehabilitation, replanting and new planting models, and associated implementation and financing mechanisms for revitalizing the tree crop sector. These models will be implemented in partnerships with concessionaires/large farms, specialized input suppliers, non-governmental organizations, farmers’ organizations (FOs) and participating financial institutions.
 
The project targets 4,900 tree crop smallholders’ farmers adding up to a total direct beneficiary population of 26,000 household members. Focus will be placed on a limited number of project areas in Montserrado, Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties to ensure visibility and impact.
 
“This project will provide rapid benefits to tree crop smallholders, through the rehabilitation of their farms, but  it will also assist them in developing future sources of income through replanting or expanding their old farms”;
Hon. Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture of Liberia, said. Making emphasis on the project’s significance, she said: “more important, this project will enable us to test different approaches for revitalizing smallholder tree crop production, and preparing, with the continued assistance of the World Bank Group, a future program aimed at bringing our tree crop sector to its full potential.”
 
This project, which is to be managed by the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture, has three components. The first is the Smallholder Tree Crops Revitalization: rehabilitating, replanting and newly planting cocoa and coffee farms (7,500 ha); revitalization of an oil palm plantation run by smallholders and an oil palm outgrowers scheme around a concessionaire (1,200 ha of rehabilitation/replanting); and replanting and extension of rubber farms (2,600 ha) in partnership with one concessionaire and one large Liberian estate. The project will support technical and management advice to smallholders and their Farmers Organizations, quality promotion and marketing enhancement; access of farmers and their FOs to adapted financial services; development of small scale processing for cocoa, coffee and oil palm; and rehabilitation of critical farm access roads.
 
Another component prioritizes the strengthening of the technical services of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cooperative Development Agency and the Preparation of Future Large Scale Tree Crop Development Program. It also comprises the elaboration of national strategies for Farmers Organizations, the securing of land use rights for targeted smallholders; and support to adaptive tree crop research.
 
Finally, the STCRSP supports the Ministry of Agriculture in ensuring the effective coordination, management and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the project.
 
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since its inception, IDA has supported activities in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

Media Contacts
In Washington

Aby K. Toure
tel : (202) 473-8302

In Monrovia

Michael Nyumah Sahr
tel : (+231) 88 6 514321

PRESS RELEASE NO:
2012/498/AFR