Over the past few years Liberia has been trying to recover from 14 years of civil war by rebuilding its agricultural sector.
As part of a bid to improve the agricultural output of both countries, the governments of Ghana and the Republic of Liberia have agreed to develop, promote and implement research activities in this regard.
Euromonitor analystFrancisco Redruello told ConfectioneryNews.com that although Liberia’s cocoa industry is doing well, tripling output to 17,000 tonnes over the last season, this still forms only two per cent of Ghana’s volume and 1.2 per cent of Ivory Coast output.
“It is a very minor producer and the impact of the agreement will be medium-term and without much significance on global trading,” said Redruello.
He said there was a stronger focus on Nigeria in terms of cocoa growth, which is expected to have a fairly decent mid-crop – around 100,000 tonnes – by late August, he said.
Other players critical to the collaboration were the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), through its Sustainable Tree Crops Programme (STCP) and the Ghana Cocoa Board.
IITA and STCP have already been running cocoa revitalisation projects in Liberia that aim to raise productivity of exports such as cocoa.
A formal request for expertise/knowledge and a resource exchange by either of the two countries were likely first steps in terms of improving Liberia and Ghana's agriculture sectors, a spokesperson for STCP and IITA told this publication.
"Already Liberia has benefited from the importation from Ghana of about 2.7 million cocoa seedlings with technical assistance from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana," said the spokesperson.
Adu-Ampomah, deputy chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board told SciDev.Net that the US, through the STCP, is keen to aid Liberia. However, the country lacks cocoa-producing capacity – which is where Ghana can help.
Paula Bramel, IITA deputy director general (research for development) said: “We believe that this historical initiative will provide a vital link between the two countries to catalyze the exchange of knowledge and expertise that is needed to rehabilitate the agricultural sector especially of Liberia.”