Sunday, 24 April 2011


Ahead of this year’s Independence Day Festivities, a Budding Cocoa operation is making impact in the host county, Lofa. The farming initiative is being hailed by dwellers in the Quardu-Gboni District as a success story and a key source of livelihood for scores of residents.

Sazanor Town, Lofa County –

When visitors to this year's Independence Day celebration in Lofa County hit town during the week of July 26, 2011, one project will likely keep them in their tracks, a successful farming initiative development covering 14,820 acres and 6,000 hectares nucleus cocoa plantation matched by a complementary out growers-smallholders program. The initiative has to date some 400 Liberians employed and has been instrumental in construction of road and bridge building for dwellers who point to the project as a key source of income and livelihood.
The plantation located in Sazanor Town, Quardu-Gboni District in Lofa County lies 20 kilometers from Voinjama, the county's capital and 414 kilometers from Monrovia, Liberia's capital.
Residents in the area point the project as one of the crowning achievements of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's government and Senator Sumo Kupee, the county's senior Senator who has been instrumental in facilitating the project to ensure its success.
 “I think the fact that the government allow investors to come here and give us the opportunity to work and support our families is a good thing, no matter how you look at,” says Flomo Zayzay, a local farmer who is one of several residents plowing the cocoa fields.
Residents also point to the project as the brainchild of Momolu Tolbert, the project took off in 2009 as a privately-owned venture when the Liberia Cocoa Corporation, undertook the leasing and development of a 14,820 acres/6,000 hectares nucleus cocoa plantation with a complementary outgrower and smallholder program.
The project valued a US$3.9 million investment. Tolbert is said to  own significant shares of the project with the backing of an foreign investors.
In the long term, developers of the area envisions the nucleus estate as a key driver of a revived and regenerated Liberian cocoa industry.
By the end of this year, the company plans to cultivate 447 (four hundred forty seven) ha in both cocoa and plantain planting season of which 60 ha were planted have already been planted. However because the level of production has been low, not much effort has been put into the production of cocoa that meets international quality standard until lately.
Liberian cocoa attracts a discount of 20 percent of the world market price whilst cocoa from countries like Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire earn a premium because of their high quality. The cocoa to be produced under the envisaged project is expected to be world class and to obtain the prevailing world market price.
Ironically, the cocoa project is a far cry from the ADA/LAP $US30 million dollar project which has failed to take off.
The ADA/LAP deal was sealed in 2007 when the Switzerland- based Libyan Investment Company, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP) in partnership with a local NGO, the Foundation for Africa Development Aid (ADA) brought into the country US$30M for rice development. But five years later, the project has been in limbo
Cocoa is referred to in many farming cultures as an excellent smallholder crop because it is not as labor intensive as other crops.  But its commercial cultivation offers a great opportunity for the country to diversify its productive base away from the current over-dependence on rubber. The Liberia Cocoa Corporation is facing a great opportunity with the development of a large scale cocoa plantation in Liberia. The soils and topography of Quardu-Gboni where the project is situated are known to possess good characteristics for cocoa cultivation. Information from local farmers in the area indicates that the Quardu-Gboni region has been contributing significantly to Lofa County's share of Liberian cocoa production even in the pre-war period. 
Soils test show that although acidic, the soils have the essential elements for cocoa production in adequate quantity and where it is suspected to be less, amendment with commercial fertilizer and compost will give desired yield. Two types of soils are characteristic of this area: namely, clay loam and sandy loam. With adequate rainfall and good soil management practices, both soil regimes can support the establishment and development of vigorous cocoa trees.            
The LCC has, as of July 2010, cultivated 60 hectares with two varieties. The varieties were identified as stocks from Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. These two varieties are of short duration with gestation projected at 18 to 24 months. They are well adapted to the ecological conditions as well as the soils of Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire. They are said to yield better than previous cocoa varieties which have been grown in the two countries. Information from the cocoa research institutes of these two countries indicates that the varieties can yield up to 2.3 metric tons per hectare). In any case, yield will be lower in the first and last few years of production (i.e. estimated at between 1.6 and 1.9 mt./ha in the first three years and the last five years, respectively). The planting trees per hectare or stand per hectare is given at 1,122 trees. 
The cocoa seedlings at the LCC plantation have been intercropped with either banana or plantain crops. Nearly 10% of the banana and plantain trees have reached physiological maturity thus needing harvesting.  The banana and plantains appear to be well adapted to the soil regimes although there is a foliar infection of black sigatoka disease probably caused by the fungus (Mycosphaerella  spp). The LCC management plans to plant and manage 447 hectares, including the 60 hectares already cultivated. As a result of this objective, a seedlings nursery amounting to about 480,000 seedlings has been developed.
Besides the Cocoa operation, the investors have also been involved in road building and maintenance bridge building to ensure that residents move from one area to the next without problems.
“The roads have been a blessing,” says Massa Mulbah, a mother of four who treks the road leading to the farm daily for work. “If it wasn't for this project, especially the bridge, I don't know how we would manage.”
In the foreseeable future, developers plan to build schools and clinics and freshwater points and get local farmers involved in skill development and management training.
As Lofa County braces for this year's Independence Day festivities in the wake of the LAP/ADA flop, the project in Sazanor Town, Quardu-Gboni District has given residents a renewed sense of pride that they can wake up each day and go to work in a bid to earn a living.
“We take it day-by-day but at least we have something to turn to,” Kollie Zazay, a farmer who treks the road each day for work.


Magnificent Victory

Barrack Young Controllers parachuted from 2-0 down to defeat Nimba United 3-2 in LFA premiership
A.      Macaulay Sombai, {077217428}

Claudius Morris, James Walatee and James Power ensured three solid goals that sealed a victory never to be forgotten by fans and officials of Barrack Young Controllers (BYC).

The trio parachuted from a 2-0 lead to defeat Nimba United 3-2 in the Liberia Football Association (LFA) National League Premiership Competition. The match, which kept fans and spectators at the edge of their seats, was played at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia on Sunday.
 Claudius Morris scored BYC’s first goal in the 55th minute through a terrific shot after receiving a splendid pass from James Walatee. The equalizer came in the 61st minute with another super shot from James Walatee, while James Power scored the winning goal through a penalty kick after striker Andrew Swaray was brought down in the penalty box of Nimba United.
John Kerkula and George Allison put Nimba United ahead in the 4th and 7th minute respectively and held onto both goals up to the first 45 minutes but could not stand the force and tactics of the BYC strikers in the thunderous second half of the match.
The victory has placed BYC one point adrift league leaders LISCR FC who are seated at the top of the table with 31 points, after both teams have played 14 games each.
Nimba United have also played 14 matches but have only secured 24 points.
In other league matches played over the weekend, Invincible Eleven (IE) who just won the Knock-out Championship, suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Monrovia Club Breweries at the Nancy Doe sports ground in Kakata, Margibi County.
The defeat means IE still remains in the relegation zone. 
Vinton Professional beat Zelor FC 1-0 in the first division.
 Aries won Roza 2-0 in the second division battle in Unification Town’s only match.
Earlier on Friday, Watanga FC defeated Mighty Blue Angels 1-0 in the premiership at the Nancy Doe sports ground in Kakata, Diamond FC and Georgian FC played to a goalless draw in the second division in Unification Town’s only clash.
Zelor FC defeated survivors FC 2-1 in the first division while Gedi and Sons settled to a 1-1 draw with Tony FC in the premiership at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
 Jubilees FC were 1-0 winners against UMC Roots in Saturday’s only league game which was played at the ATS.     


A report from old road

The Editor,
I am a youth of Tokpa Camp Old Road Sinkor, I write you this mail to inform and sensitize the Liberian government and society at large, concerning the youths of our noble country Liberia.

There has been a major increase of crimes and loitering at late hours on the streets of Old Road and its vicinities. gang violence and street fight are becoming constant activities, scenes of young boys under the ages of 16 to 17 smoking banned substances such as marijuana
and illegal tobacco is not a very rare sight.
Young girls are engaged in the sex trade and its becoming a part of society for them. Where are the parents? Where is the government whom we expect to train and empower us for a brighter future. I personally recommend that recreational centers be established or built attract young people from the street life they so married to.
The educational sector is another faulty area. Students wishing to obtain school documents and WAEC certificates don’t have to sit in a class and do a lot of homework, when they could easily take a stroll down education ministry.

The very headquarters of the nations educational sector. This is a very sad story and should be taken with high.
As the saying goes the youth are the future leaders of any nation, how then can the youth
rule this country rule when 76 percent of hundred boys and girls don’t believe in themselves and are slaves to drugs.
Most parents are to blame for such a social problem. We has to fight this epidemic, cracking down on drugs, and raiding businesses under education isn’t going to solve this problem.
The remedy to all of this is simply awareness through the media And counseling for youth’s already involved also radio programs and dramas.
Advising parents on the upbringing of their children. Setting up a hot-line people could call if they are been abused by their parents or guardians. create a child protection agency and enact laws supporting the child rights law in the united states.
Children are very vulnerable, and criminals don’t have a hard time convincing kids or adolescents into joining them in their dubious activities.

Fred Foley
Lil Star
Oldroad Sinkor
Tokpa Camp