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Liberia Launches First Post-war Cocoa, Coffee Policy

The Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA) has officially launched Liberia first post-war cocoa and coffee policy in the country.

LACRA is the government agency responsible for regulating the cocoa and coffee sector and other agricultural commodities in Liberia. The policy was launched on November 16, 2022 in Ganta, Nimba County.

The policy seeks to address the issue of quality trade and commerce, license and authorization of companies as well as standards, exporters handling of cocoa, guidelines for quality control for cocoa marketing, pricing, requirements of farmers and cooperatives, among other regulations.

Solidaridad, with support from the European Union, has worked with LACRA to develop the country’s cocoa and coffee framework so as to ensure proper regulation for the improvement of the lives of farmers, exporters and other value chain members and to generate revenue for the nation.

The Director General at LACRA, Dr. John S. Flomo, during the launch of the policy on Wednesday in Ganta, said the challenges and called on the government and partners to support his entity with the necessary logistics and equipment so as to adequately implement the policy.

“In the midst of developing the law we have challenges with the issues of limited staff to carry out monitoring. We are working to increase our staff in the various counties, especially at the borders. We do not have enough funding to provide more support to the policy,” Flomo said.

Flomo added that his entity is a new government functionary that took over from the Liberia Produce Marketing Authority (LMPC), a defunct regulatory body, which was established before the war.

“Prior to the war LPMC was managing the sector, buying commodities from farmers, making provision for loans to empower the farmers and exporting the cocoa and coffee commodities out of the country. This was the primary responsibility of that entity then.

“But with the coming of LACRA, we have a change of mandate that limits us to only regulation. The change happened in 2016 under the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that brought our entity into existence,” he explained.

“Indeed the period has been a time of successes, though with numerous challenges. The policy today has been in motion since and it covered so many issues that are intended to improve the sector. For people to export out of the country what are the criteria to do it is what the policy aims to address,” he added.

For his part, the Country Representative of Solidaridad West Africa (Liberia), Micheal S. Doe, said that the cocoa policy will help increase compliance in the sector thereby making LACRA to improve on its operations.

“It is going to help improve standards, although implementing a policy is sometimes difficult due to the lack of capacity. For this policy to become successful there must be more financial support to LACRA to ensure the training of its staff. If this does not happen the policy will not become a reality,” he stated.

Doe said that they are fully aware that LACRA is underfunded but undue political influence can stall the implementation of policy, thereby cautioning LACRA to do all they can to make sure that the policy works for the sector.

A. Tijani Darrah, a member of the Cocoa exporter association said that they were grateful to LACRA for drafting the policy, something he stated that it was truly in the interest of members of the association.

He promised the willingness of the exporters’ association to work with LACRA to make the sector a great one.

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