Liberia and AfricaRice have sealed a host Country agreement to giving rights to the institution operate in the country.
The deal was consummated Friday, December 4, 2020 at Liberia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
AfricaRice is an intergovernmental association of African member countries established in 1971 and it is member of the CGIAR System Organization.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kamayah, Sr. signed on behalf of Liberia while Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, Africa Rice Director General signed for his institution.
Foreign Affairs Minister said, “Today’s signing will go a long way in not only addressing or helping to address the food need of our country in particular rice, but also our economy.”
According to him, the signing is in an effort to enhance the actualization of President George Weah vision and agenda and in particular relating to the agriculture sector of Liberia.
At the signing ceremony Minister Kamayah, “Rice is a very strategist and important commodity for our country.”
According to him, President George Weah is very keen and particular about the agriculture sector adding that they [government] have food security in the ‘Pro-Poor Agenda’, a framework plan of the Liberian government.
He said one area that provides a source of hope for the country economy is agriculture sector wither it has to do with foreign exchange or whatever.
“Agriculture is the life blood of our economy” he said.
The Minister was quick to recognize that food security particular when it comes to rice it cannot be out beaten adding “As we sign this agreement today, we look toward to a focus not only on rice for the production of rice but we look towards the perspective of value change”
Liberia was the first in 1971 to have hosted the Headquarters of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) which has been changed to AfricaRice, but due to the civil unrest, the sought refuge in one of its member’s country. Since the institution departed Liberia, it was on Friday, December 4, 2020 the Liberian government and the AfricaRice reached an agreement for it to start operation in Liberia.
Minister Kamayah pleaded with Dr. Roy- Macauley to on behalf of Liberia kindly extend Liberia’s desire for the hosting of the Headquarters of AfricaRice.
Dr. Harold Roy- Macauley praised the Liberian government for speedily and professionally reaching the agreement for the institution to operate in the borders of Liberia.
“I am really impressed, I should not be saying that, but I am elated. I have been signing host country agreement, but I have not seen one that has been smooth and very understanding like this one. I have done this in francophone and English speaking countries” Dr. Roy-Macauley with an expression of joy across his face.
He said years back when WARDA was in Liberia, he had an opportunity to have visited the country saying,” Liberia was my America.” He said the signing was a very historic one because it is a dream come through and will help in addressing the food needs of Liberia.
He indicated that the organization has grown over the years with 28 countries now being members.
“I am happy honorable Minister that we signed this agreement today and I can assure you that we will respect every condition in this agreement” Dr. Roy-Macauley said.
He promised to ensure that the capacity of Liberians are built in the area of their operation something he said will bring much gains to the country and its people.
The signed in the presence of Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture, Jeanine Milly cooper and other staff of the Foreign Affairs, Agriculture Ministries as well as representatives from AfricaRice.
Minister Cooper said all of what they do in Liberia in the agriculture sector will be of no use when they do not get rice right relating to production.