(Bahn, Nimba County, November 7, 2020): - Agriculture Minister Jeanine Milly Cooper, on today Saturday, launched farms to market roads project in the heavily forested cocoa-rich and trading town of Bahn, Zoegeh District in Nimba County situated 310 km northeast of the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
“His Excellency President George Manneh Weah is delighted to see this road project starts to bring relief to our people in Nimba as road connectivity is an important aspect in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD”, Minister Cooper told jubilant residents.
Linking cocoa farmers to markets through an accessible road network to enhance production and cocoa trade are the main focus of the project as Nimba is one of the two cocoa producing counties in Liberia. Lofa is another. The road project, with funding from the Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), is a major component under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) supervised Tree Crops Expansion Project (TCEP).
The IFAD funded TCEP project aims at revitalization of cocoa plantations; rehabilitation and maintenance of Farm-to-Market Roads and capacity building for service provisions on the cocoa value chain.
Its project design and financing agreement signed with the GOL in 2016 restricts interventions to Nimba only, while TCEP II, signed in 2018, to Lofa only.
For each of the two counties, the TCEPs aim to reach 11,000 cocoa farmers up to 2025. Liberia’s cocoa production and exports are estimated between 10,000 tons to 17,000 tons annually, the lowest in West Africa.
Today’s launch is the first phase that targets 49 km of rehabilitation and expansion of inaccessible roads to laterite road networks linking 11 cocoa producing towns within Buu-Yao, Gbelay-geh and Twah Districts. Roads linking Bahn, Beeplay, Buutuo, Sokarlay and Tuazama Towns are among major towns earmarked for rehabilitation and expansion from existing narrow carriageways of 10 meters to 16 meters wide. With technical backup support from the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning and Public Works, bids evaluations on the second phase are in the concluding stages.
It is expected to commence in December and targets 77.7 km roads that will connect Zardiplay, Dimplay, Frolay, Karnplay, Souplay and their surrounding towns in Nimba. Amidst jubilations from residents within those designated districts, Railey Myers, Nimba County’s Development Superintendent, lauded the Government of Liberia for the road project.
Nimba County’s Legislative Caucus Chairman, Representative Samuel Kogar said this is a major boost for the county and urged the people of Nimba to be supportive of it while cautioning road contractors to perform to ensure quality works.