As part of efforts to promote good cocoa farming practice around the Gola Forest National Park (GFNP), in Grand Cape Mount County, the Vainga Agriculture Development Management and Consultancy (VADEMCO) has built the capacities of 77- local farmers in cocoa production, management and disease control.
The 77-local farmers were trained and given certificates by VADEMCO in collaboration with the Society for the Conservation of Nature(SCNL) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change project(WABICC).
The project seeks to promote good farming practice while at the same time enhance Sustainable Forest Management in the corridor of the Liberian forest.
The training was part of livelihood activity component of the WABICC/USAID funded program currently being implemented by the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL).
The training co-named “Farmer Field School” was directly intended to provide more practical knowledge to the beneficiaries to enable them properly management their own cocoa farm.
VADEMCO Chief Executive Officer and senior consultant Mr. Suliman V. Kamara told the gathering that his dream is to train more Liberian cocoa producers to put the country on the map by competing with other producing countries like neighboring Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as Ghana.
He reminded the people of Grand Cape Mount County that cocoa is one of the best cash crops in the world and urged them to take what they have learned seriously for their own benefits and the benefit of the Country.
Mr. Kamara urged the graduates to now adjust to the new method and properly utilize skills acquired from his organization to improve their living condition and promote Liberia’s cocoa sector.
Also speaking WABICC project Manager Anne Gardner and SCNL Program Manager Michael E. Taire, in separate remarks, lauded the graduates for upholding the doctrine of Sustainable Forest management by responsibly and wisely using their forest.
Madam Gardner and Mr. Taire noted that the current action by the graduates to serve as forest ambassadors would not only today’s generation, but generations to come.
They argued that maintaining the forest would bring huge benefits to their communities citing the FFS training as one of the benefits for them.
Madam Gardner and Mr. Taire have urged female participants from the training to be focus and put what they have learned into practice.
They explained that female can actively contribute towards the development of their community if they are focused and willing to learn.
“Gola Forest is not only important to the people of Sokpo clan the but to rest of the world. The forest makes us feel free and good”, said Anne.
In a related development, Porkpa District paramount chief madam Jaymiatu K. Watson admonished her kinsman to work with dedication and passion in maintaining the uniqueness of their community forest.
Madam Watson added that at the beginning the people of Sokpo clan did not know that forest has many benefits until when VADEMCO and partners begin to initiate forest related programs in building their capacity in smart agriculture program.
The program took into consideration the issue of gender sensitivity in which dozens of women was trained alongside with their male counterparts.
Since 1999,VADEMCO have provided training to smallholder commercial enterprise farmers in sustainable and environmental friendly manner.
The organization uses Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) for cocoa production and post-harvest and quality management practices (techniques).