The Director-General of the National Bureau of Concession (NBC), Gregory Coleman says his ambition as head of the bureau is to see the successful usage of the country’s natural resources that will help alleviate poverty.
Director-General of the National Bureau of Concession, Gregory Coleman
Addressing a team of journalists recently when he visited the concession area of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) in western Liberia, DG Coleman said the team at the NBC wants to see the efficient use of the country’s natural resources at all levels in the next six years aim at lifting Liberians from poverty.
According to Coleman, they are currently carrying out comparative analysis on other countries that have same investments over the years that have lifted over 70% of their citizens out of poverty.
He said the research is looking at how those countries managed and how did they get to where they are today and what needs to be done as a country to march those countries.
“We have already started to establish a platform on which we can start to build all of those things that will bring them together to be able to lift them out of poverty. We established in Bomi a week ago the multi-stakeholders’ platform. On that platform, the first and foremost thing is the peace and security component which looks at conflict mitigation, prevention and early warning mechanisms so as to avoid any potential problems from escalating into conflict,” DG Coleman said.
The veteran security expert also noted that the platform also has the human security component working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on agriculture.
“These people are affected because the farm they have for the last few years now into a plantation. The only livelihood cannot only be coming to work in the morning at the plantation and go home. They have to be able to sustain themselves beyond just the jobs that they do,” he added.
In a related development, the Director-General of the National Bureau of Concession (NBC), Gregory Coleman wants a community-company relationship that will ensure the value in working together as a team.
Coleman said the ultimate objective of such collaboration is to build a platform where they will be able to establish the out-grower program which will enable the communities to become the owners of the plantation.
Out-grower scheme is a contractual partnership between growers or landholders and a company for the production of commercial forest products. Out-grower schemes or partnerships vary considerably in the extent to which inputs, costs, risks and benefits are shared between growers/landholders and companies.
The Partnerships may be short or long-term and may offer growers only financial benefits or a wider range of benefits. Also, growers may act individually or as a group in partnership with a company and use private or communal land. Out-grower schemes are usually prescribed in formal contracts.
Growers or landholders receive a range of potential benefits through out-grower partnerships. They include, but not limited to secure land tenure and increase the clarity over rights to trees being grown; gain access to financial support or sources of income while trees mature; receive higher net returns from trees than from traditional land uses; secure markets, have a good means of participating with the company; and appeal to third parties among others.
However, speaking on the relationship, Coleman said the out-grower scheme changes the mentality and the community members now become the owners and they can meaningfully contribute to government’s revenue and decide what kind of technology they run within their own setting.
“We have to train the cooperative that manages the investments, the farms. You cannot develop this without setting up the platforms,” he concluded.