A two-day retreat on the National Oil Palm Platform of Liberia (NOPPOL) has reviewed progress made in 2019 as well as, identified key successes, challenges and highlighted the opportunities for improvement towards effectiveness in 2020.
This two-day meeting was convened by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and supported under UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) financed Good Growth Partnership (GGP).
During the event, held in Monrovia 04-05 March, Stakeholders' activities and interventions were aligned and synergies developed amongst implementing partners in the oil palm sector.
Speaking on behalf of UNDP, Deputy Resident Representative for Programme Violet Baffour, stressed promotion of partnerships as a key strategy and vehicle to realize the required and necessary impact and systemic changes in the oil palm sector.
Ms. Baffour recognized that the National Oil Palm Platform of Liberia as the forum to convene experts and stakeholders around the table to inform planning, policy, and action and most importantly, achieve positive change in the oil palm sector and in Liberia.
She underscored UNDP’s continued strong partnership with the MoA and the oil palm sector, that would be promoted through the leveraging of its experiences and knowledge derived from supporting sustainable commodity supply chains around the world to realize sustainable oil palm development in Liberia.
For her part, Agriculture Minister, Jeanine Milly Cooper, insisted on the inclusion of Liberian private sector actors in the production and export of oil palm on the National Oil Palm Platform of Liberia (NOPPOL).
Minster Cooper explained that Liberian private sector actors are the ones trying “to stand on their feet” and already have Liberia’s palm oil on the international settings.
“I am not talking about the concessions and small holders’ supported by NGOs with all due respect to them, but for the Liberian private sector in the oil palm industry. They are not represented on this platform. That needs to be corrected and they must be included on this platform”, Minister Cooper insisted.
“We are asking stakeholders to find ways to “practically support our Liberian local oil palm sector to be a source of premium quality oil palm products from Liberia on the international market,” Cooper pleaded
Madame Cooper demanded practical actions in the oil palm sector instead of studies and assessments which have been done.
“I see the oil palm work plan for 2020 and I don’t see the practical actions to grow the sector. I only see strategies, assessments and reviews. Let’s work on how to practically support our Liberian local oil palm sector to be source of premium quality oil palm products from Liberia on the international market," Cooper pleaded.
She further said, “While I respect the concessions as they provide the agriculture contributions to Liberia’s GDP and driving growth, we, as a Ministry, also seeks to promote the local Liberian private sectors involved in oil palm production and export”.
Minister Cooper said similar insistence has been made to the cassava and rubber sectors in getting Liberian private actors actively involved to see them grow and thrive which is part of her vision for the country’s agriculture sector.
The National Oil Palm Platform of Liberia (NOPPOL) is a group of technical experts drawn from producers (including smallholders) in Liberia, the supply chain and investors, organizations with environmental interests, organizations with social interests and Government representatives.
Its functions to spearhead and support the responsible development of a strong, diversified and competitive oil palm industry in Liberia, are consistent with recognized national and international commercial, operational, environmental and social laws and best practices.
NOPPOL was strengthened in 2019 with the support of the UNDP- GCP methodology.