The coffee sector in Liberia has suffered from a lack of investment since the civil war. In Liberia, the EU ACP Business Friendly project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in partnership with the African Robusta Coffee Agency (ACRAM) and its local representative, the Farmers Union Network (FUN), aims to revive the coffee sector with the support of the Liberian government.
To date, various activities on the revival of the coffee sector have taken place in this 4-year project (2021-2024), the most recent being the training of trainers on cloning techniques for plant propagation. ITC brought in experts from Uganda – the largest producer of Robusta coffee in Africa and the fourth largest in the world – to build the capacity of project stakeholders on the technology of clonal propagation of coffee using stem cuttings. The 10-day training took place from 14 to 23 September and was attended mainly by farmers, extension services from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Centre (CARI) and extension agents from the network of farmers’ unions in the 5 pilot counties of Liberia, namely Bomi, Bong, Lofa, Montserrado and Nimba.
During the training, experts Dr Kyalo and Israel SSebugenyi (breeder) shared their valuable experiences in the coffee cloning method, starting with land preparation and soil specifics, fertilizer application and recommendations, establishing a shelter for cuttings and finally cuttings and establishing the mother garden. The training was mainly conducted through practical sessions at the Arjay farm, and at the Caresysburg Montserrado site, one of the 15 demonstration plots of the EU ACP Business Friendly project. A practical cutting session was conducted on a coffee farm in Montserrado, which allowed the establishment of the mother garden. These practical sessions were complemented by presentations on rainy days. The participants established a roadmap and work plan for the application of the new technique and technology in their respective communities.
Tambah Fallah, training beneficiary and Head Farmer of Foya, Lofa County : ”We were harvesting coffee without any proper technique. We just inherited from our families, and we harvest to sell to get extra income. Thanks to this training, I understood that with good planting material, I can increase the yield of my coffee plantation and generate a new business segment as a nurseryman”.
The Executive Secretary of ACRAM, Mr. Ismael NDJEWE and the Regional Coordinator of the project, Mr. Mory Diawara highly appreciated the commitment of the beneficiaries and their motivation to replicate the technology and to train their community members and appreciate the implication of the Farmers Union network in the success of this activity. Indeed, FUN facilitated the venue of the training both theoretical and practical sessions.
Mrs. Geertrui, the representative of the European Union Delegation in Liberia, welcomed the involvement of the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture, to ensure the sustainability of these actions. She recalled the European Union’s support to smallholder farmers to improve livelihoods and build diversified, inclusive, and sustainable incomes. A training manual and kits were provided to all participants to start the activities. A new movement was born: The coffee change agents of Liberia, with a vision of successful empowerment of producers through business.
The training ended with the provision of a county roadmap. One of the recommendations was the organisation of a study visit to Uganda with the different actors of the value chain in order to share good practices on the dynamics of the private sector and the government support to the coffee sector.
Here are some pictures of the project :