The Farmers Union Network of Liberia (FUNL) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have completed a week-long training program on the value of cooperatives for coffee producers. To increase revenue, it is intended to help the cooperatives establish coffee cooperatives in Liberia.
Speaking at the start of the workshop, the coffee expert from Burundi, Ephrem Sabatigita said Liberia has a very great potential for coffee production but to make coffee more marketable, there is a need for the country to transition the farming association into cooperatives.
He added that he was in Liberia to evaluate the country’s coffee production and to make sure that farmers are informed on how to expand their operations.
According to Harris Wennie, Program and Project Director at the Cooperative Development Agency said, his organization is collaborating with the ITC and FUN to ensure that the organizations of coffee farmers are converted into cooperatives.
“We appreciate the capacity building for farmers, especially the process of educating the farmers on the need to transition into cooperatives. This is the only way coffee farmers can get more money from their labor. Because farmers who sell their coffee to other nations get very little money, the coffee market is unstable. Many of our coffee farmers have just returned to active coffee production after inheriting farms from their parents.”
On July 4, 2023, the training began in Gbarnga, Bong County, and later expanded to Lofa and Nimba counties. ITC and FUNL are organizing the training as part of Liberia’s Business Friendly Coffee project, which is being supported by the ITC/ACP EU.
Prior to the Liberian civil war, the nation was a significant producer and exporter of goods made from cocoa and coffee. However, the coffee industry in particular has been dormant since the conclusion of the conflict.
The project is attempting to revitalize the coffee industry with assistance from the EU in order to enhance the producers’ standard of living.
The project has trained farmers on harvest and post-harvest losses, stumping and pruning of old coffee farms, the propagation of Robusta and Liberia coffee as well as facilitated regional visits to coffee producing counties.
ITC and FUNL are working in collaboration with the CDA and the Ministry of Agriculture to establish three coffee cooperatives in Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties.
Reported by: Augustine Octavius