-As Agriculture Minister, FAO Tour Liberia
By Esau J. Farr
It is said that a hungry man is an angry man; one flooded stream of river cannot take down the trouser of a wise man twice as once and that if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.
It is based upon these that Liberia as one of the underdeveloped and poorest (not resources) countries in the world is trying to score perhaps significant marks in other sectors under the different pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations has expected that from 2000 to 2015, the world would have experienced substantial and significant improvement in the wellbeing of human kind through the availability of basic social services including the reduction of illiteracy amongst people by a prescribed target, reduce maternal mortality rate amongst women and children, countries be self-sufficient in food security, the provision of safe drinking water for all and the improvement of the living standards of rural dwellers amongst others.
But in sharp contrast to the proposed expectations, the world failed to meet its target especially in developing countries most of which are from Africa.
The situation forced the world body to redesign the goals for another fifteen (15) years running from 2016 to 2030.
The eight pillars of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were later broken into 17 smaller pillars amongst which are Zero Poverty, Zero Hunger, gender equality, clean energy and safe drinking water for all just to name a few.
But all of the above are solely and wholly dependent on available resources, proper management of said resources and the unwavering political will by heads of governments and major stakeholders globally.
It is seen to be that two of the seventeen (17) pillars of the SDGs, Goal numbers twelve (#s 2 and 12) which are labeled Zero Hunger and ‘Responsible Consumption and Production that both talk about highlighting agriculture and nations being self-sufficient in food security are beginning to take roots in Liberia though stay far from target.
In achieving said goal, it is required that all national governments allot at least twenty-five percent (25%) of their respective annual or Fiscal Budget to Agricultural Sector for food sufficiency worldwide.
Shortly upon his return from the Republic of Israel after traveling with the Liberian leader, President George M. Weah, Liberia Agriculture Minister, Dr. Mogana S. Flomo, Jr along with partner (FAO) has embarked on a five county tour in Liberia.
According to the national broadcaster of the country (ELBC), the Agriculture Minister alongside the Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun a five county tour that will see them visit Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties.
Dr. Flomo is quoted as helping to implement the mandate of President George M. Weah who he said has placed emphasis on agriculture as captured under the CDC led government’s proposed ‘Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development’ (PAPD).
“During the visit of Minister Flomo and partner, the Minister is expected to identify potential local farmers while at the same time acquainting himself with the challenges and prospects of farmers as well to ensure that Liberia is food secured by 2023,” the Minister is quoted as telling journalists in Gbarnga, Bong County at the start of the tour.
The issue of food security and getting rid of hunger remains a major challenge to the world especially underdeveloped and developing nations, most of whom have and continue to lag behind in ‘Development Theater’ as a result of lack of political will on the part of past and current governments and major stakeholders as well as acute and uncontrollable corruption scandals. Liberia and other nations are no exceptions to such virus evidenced by the recent investigation and reports released over alleged missing billion Liberian Dollars banknotes and US$25m given to Liberia’s Technical and Economic Management Team (TEMT) to carry out a mop-up exercise in the Liberian economy of legacy banknotes for which several persons are now known to have been arrested while others are expected to be arrested or invited for questioning by the court.
If Liberia must make progress and achieve good results within the second fifteen years set aside by the world body, she must strive to raise up to the occasion, abide by the principles put in place so that she will not eventually blame the place she will fall, but where she storms her toes.