President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has for the first time admitted that the government has abandoned the agriculture sector, leaving it with small farmers thus creating a high demand for the importation of rice.President Sirleaf made the confession on Friday, April 9, when she inaugurated the first industrial rice processing and warehousing facility, in Kakata, Margibi County.In her statement at the official inauguration of the facility, President Sirleaf said Fabrar’s initiative represents “a major step forward” which should have been done as a country.She said the country has paid a lot of attention to its mineral resources, shipping logs and iron ore without paying much attention to the agriculture sector.Madam Sirleaf described agriculture as “very expensive,” and because of this the country has left it with small subsistence farmers.“Agriculture is very expensive; so we have left it to our small farmers. This is why we are the major importers of rice. It is possible for each of us to contribute something to our country by taking such initiative,” she said.She challenged the Ministry of Agriculture to focus more attention on the ministry’s obligations by working tirelessly to ensure that the country is at the point of meeting the needs of its citizens by producing more food to alleviate hunger.She expressed deep satisfaction over the newly inaugurated rice processing facility, adding that it is her greatest hope to have food processing facilities in all of the fifteen counties.“I’m glad that Liberia has its first industrial rice processing and warehousing facility, which stands to benefit the citizens. I want to see more of rice, cassava and other industrial processing plants that will create job opportunities,” she added.The President praised the company for its persistence and determination during the five years it took to develop the first rice processing industry in the country.Success in reaching the point of installing the first industrial rice processing and warehouse facility came through the instrumentality of the United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise (USAID FED).The Chief of Party of USAID FED, Ms. Agnes Luz, reaffirmed her organization’s commitment to supporting the country with financial and technical assistance in order to reduce hunger and promote food security for Liberians.She stated that they will continually increase agricultural productivity and profitability of food crops and animals (rice, vegetables, cassava and goats), and stimulate the enterprises to build the agriculture workforce.Ms. Luz acknowledged that support from the US Government to USAID FED also led to supporting the new industrial facility which will double its previous capacity to mill 30 metric tons (MT) of rice per day and store 1,000 metric tons with proper ventilation and protection from pests, fungus and mildew.“Our program is in six counties — Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bong and Montserrado, working with farmers to improve their living conditions,” the USAID FED Chief of Party stated.US Ambassador Deborah Malac in her statement highlighted the importance of having such an industry, pledging her Government’s support to Liberia’s agriculture sector.The U.S. Ambassador expressed disappointment that Liberia has fertile soil on which varieties of food crops can grow, but citizens continue to cry from hunger.She called on Liberians to take responsibility by bringing in the changes the country needs to improve the living condition of the citizens by engaging in active farming.Fabrar Liberia Inc., the agriculture entity which operates the facility, is a Liberian-owned and operated agriculture enterprise created in 2009 to tackle food insecurity in Liberia.It also works to improve the livelihood of farmers and provides them access to domestic and international food markets.Fabrar CEO, Mr. Fabio Lavelanet reiterated the goal of his industry which is to tackle food insecurity, improve lives of farmers and provides them access to domestic and international food markets.He encouraged Liberian famers to join the effort by working together for the betterment of the country.“As the country’s largest rice processor and only industrial processor for now, Fabrar Liberia Inc. will provide Liberian farmers incentives and motivate them to grow quality rice and make better businesses,” he added.Liberia’s economy is oriented more in agriculture. The country has rich soil, a humid climate with equal lengths of rainfall and sunshine.The rainfall then gives rise to dense forest vegetation, thus reflecting how rich and fertile Liberia’s soil is.Despite Liberia’s fertile soil, agriculture has remained poorly handled with only the low income earners in rural areas making subsistence farming.This has increased the importation of basic food commodities, including the staple food, rice. Another challenge associated with the agriculture sector is lack of farm to market roads which impede the progress of rural farmers as they find it difficult to bring their commodities to the market.Amid all the constraints, however, local subsistence farmers continue to make strides in producing basic food crops but at a minimum scale. This effort by local farmers in the country has graded Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties as the bread baskets of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
In keeping with promises to review all deals and agreements entered into by the Coalition Government during the period when it should be acting in a caretaker role, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said among the things that will be repealed is the recent extension given to CGX Energy Inc. for exploration activities.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoBack in May, government had approved a Strategic Joint Venture between CGX Energy Inc. and Frontera Energy Corporation to farm into two shallow water offshore Petroleum Prospecting Licences for the Corentyne and Demerara Blocks – both of which are adjacent to ExxonMobil’s Stabroek Block, where 13 discoveries have been made thus far.The farm-in joint venture allows Frontera to acquire a 33.333 per cent working interest in the two blocks.The agreement will see CGX’s Utakwaaka well drilled by November 27, 2019 in the Corentyne Block, with an additional exploration well to be drilled by November 27, 2022. In the Demerara Block, an exploration well will have to be drilled by February 12, 2021, with a further exploration well being drilled by February 12, 2023.The Opposition Leader told reporters on Thursday that this extension granted by the APNU+AFC government would be reviewed.“The extension of the CGX contract, we will not treat it as valid. Nothing in that period (is valid)… The Government doesn’t have the authority to extend anything,” Jagdeo contended.In fact, Jagdeo noted that even the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Bill which was passed in the National Assembly back in January of this year in the absence of the Parliamentary Opposition will also be repealed.The NRF Bill is a crucial piece of legislation that is intended to create a framework for saving and investing revenue from Guyana’s oil and gas sector. But the Opposition Leader pointed out that the Government delayed its passage for months, and then went ahead to pass it shortly after a no-confidence vote against Government.“As far as we’re concerned, it is illegal too…and we will repeal it and replace it (in) a very short period with another model that reflects some of the principles we’ve outlined and some we will outline in our Manifesto,” he noted.According to Jagdeo, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) will encompass the Santiago Principle on Transparency and Norwegian type-management, which will see the management of the Fund placed at a distance from the politicians.“As production takes place, the money could be placed in an escrow account and central bank, and nobody touches it. We publish how much money we received, and the money is there,” he stated.The Opposition Leader went on to outline that, upon examination of the NRF, it will show that the Finance Minister is overall in charge of the Fund; the Central Bank, which reports to the Minister, is in charge of the operation of the Fund; the Minister will name a Macro-Economic Committee that is advisory to him, and that his Ministry chairs, and that will determine the economically feasible amount to be withdrawn from the fund; the Minister will also name an Investment Committee which will again be advisory to him and set up the investment mandate; and then the Minister, in his personal capacity, will determine the fiscally sustainable sum to withdraw.“What is common in every one of those five issues is the Minister. That’s the management structure of the Fund, and you cannot have that. It’s a recipe for disaster. We’ll destroy the economy and we’ll have a ton of corruption if you do that. You have to distance the politicians from that… So the model that they pass is a model that we have no faith in. It destroys some fundamental principles of how you manage any windfall resource,” Jagdeo, an economist and former President, stated.According to the Opposition Leader, should the PPP get into office, repeal of the SWF will be done immediately, without any disturbances to oil production activities which the United States oil giant ExxonMobil is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of next year.The former Head of State criticised the Coalition Government for not realising its responsibility with a sense of urgency of the situation, and with an understanding of its mandate to protect the nation and its people.“There is no understanding of the seriousness of the issue, and there is an abdication of their responsibility to protect us and our nation. And when you have that, the companies can run amok. So the idea is not to stop production, but to make sure that we build those capabilities…. We want to offer that the PPP will be that sort of government that will do all of those things,” Jagdeo asserted.
Kate Beckinsale: “She is of her time. She’s very much observant of all the social codes and conditions. It’s just that she’s found very clever ways to kind of subvert them and kind of squeak past them.”Chloë Sevigny plays Lady’s Susan’s close friend, Alicia Johnson. The two worked together on “The Last Days of Disco” back in 1998, so “Love & Friendship” was a reunion for them.Kate Beckinsale: “There wasn’t this kind of gulf of several decades in between. We did sort of quite easily fall back into a fairly familiar pattern with each other, which was lovely.”Dressing up in 18th century clothing was part of the job for Kate on this film, and it took a bit of getting used to.Kate Beckinsale: “It’s quite difficult walking around in those costumes, especially if the doorway’s very wide. I had some outrageous hats on quite a lot, so you know, you’d have to devise a sort of special technique to get through doors sideways.”You can find “Love & Friendship” in theaters now. And if you’re going to have a celebrity crush, do they get any better than Kate Beckinsale? Kate “Hot-insale” as I like to call her? Isn’t she the best??Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Besides “X-Men” and “Alice,” there’s also “Love & Friendship” at the box office this weekend. That’s Kate Beckinsale’s new comedy set in 18th century England. Deco’s good friend, Chris Van Vliet has all the lovely deets.Lynn, Shireen … in “Love & Friendship,” Kate Beckinsale is a woman of high society and questionable virtue. It may be a man’s world — but Kate plays by her own rules.“Love & Friendship” is based on an early work by legendary English author Jane Austen. Kate Beckinsale is Lady Susan Vernon, dodging rumors of her many affairs. The lady could be bitter and cold, but she’s not.Kate Beckinsale: “In that my character is quite naughty and ruthless and manipulative and cunning and actually, the whole movie is sort of not what you expect ’cause it’s very, very funny.”It didn’t take much to get Kate to commit to the role. It was love at first sight.Kate Beckinsale: “I love the characters where you’re looking at them on the page going ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t believe she’s doing this stuff,’ yet at the same time, you’re also applauding her for her spirit and all that. I’m attracted to those kind of characters.”Lady Susan’s views on love and marriage seem very modern … but that’s not the case, says the woman who’s come to know her quite well.