Agricultural Resources of Liberia: Demand for the Production of Services – Correlations with the 2005 Elections Data. By: Dr. Cyril E. Broderick Delaware State University. INTRODUCTION. Problems. War has left people desperately poor and susceptible to mal-nutrition and starvation.
Agricultural Resources of Liberia: Demand for the Production of Services – Correlations with the 2005 Elections Data By: Dr. Cyril E. Broderick Delaware State University
Problems • War has left people desperately poor and susceptible to mal-nutrition and starvation. • People, especially the young and most productive, have left rural areas for Monrovia and other urban areas • Agricultural production has suffered significantly, consequently. • Moreover, data on agriculture are estimates and may poorly quantify the problems listed above • Hence, planning for agricultural development is not easy, but assessments of available data by competent professionals can afford the beginning of more effective planning. • Effective planning would afford efficient management of country resources to implement national programs for real growth and development.
Opportunities • The 2005 published elections data are very revealing, without focusing on agriculture, but they provide a lot of significant and useful data on Liberian demographics. • Hence, agricultural needs can be estimated based on demographic data acquired during the planning and execution of the 2005 Elections. • The stability created by the end of hostility, an elected government and the presence of UNIMIL proved us a significant window to plan the future of agriculture and other event that assure productive human enterprises for sustenance. • We should seize the opportunity to make good plans and take Liberia into a future of cornucopia.
Performing Symbols of the Past and Reinventing Symbols for the Future • Many Liberian symbols are manifested from agriculture. They range from the cola nut and the palm tree to the tooth of the saboth, the tail of cattle, and the tusk of the elephant. Symbols may not mean the same to everyone, but they are real. • Agriculture and agricultural resources now mean that the open hand of the receiver must now be changed to the silos or reserves and the cornucopia in the horn of plenty. Bunches of rice grains also are a manifestation of such a future.
The objectives of this presentation, consequently, are thus: • Develop more realistic estimates of Liberia’s population, their productivity, and their needs – especially in food and agriculture, by comparison of estimates developed for Liberia over the years, especially over the war years. • Utilize the 2005 Elections Data, which are among the most authenticated data, to compare and confirm or reject data secured under less stringent circumstances. • Use authenticated data to indicate what the plans should be for an agricultural future of Liberia; where there would be conservation of forests and their products; protection of fertility in Liberian soils; water damming, storage and conservation; improved plants and animals for high quality yields and sustainable agricultural production, including the use of modern factors of production (machines, chemical fertilizers, computers, etc.) and improved plants and animals, for the production of goods, services, and manufactured products from rice, cassava, and chicken, to tomatoes, onions, cotton, and even fish, bacon and ham, and beef.
POST-ELECTION EMPHASES ON AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTSource: United Nations Mission in Liberia Press Release, 20 November 2006 (UNMIL/PIO/PR135) • Hungry people can become violent people. So an investment in food security is an investment in national security” • Mr. Alan Doss, the Special Representative of the Secretary General to Liberia • “… We are going to give prizes to the county that produces more food next year. Start preparing yourself.” • Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
Per the statements above • When the people can be fed and be prosperous, and violence remains in the past, the UN, ECOWAS, and the people of Liberia will know the difference. • And then, by real confirmable data, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf would be able to know which county or counties, produced more food and contributed more to national development, and should receive the ‘prizes.’
NEC 2005 ELECTIONS DATA • The National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia in 2005 developed relevant, real and in-country data. • These data present a unique opportunity to assess agriculture and implications to planning for prosperity and national development.
SPECIAL PUBLISHED REPORTS • Global Information and Early Warning System of Food and Agriculture: Food supply situation and crop prospects in Sub-Saharan African – Press release by Food and Agriculture Organization, No. 2/96, May 1996 • FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Liberia – 3 January 1997 • Agriculture and Food – Liberia – EarthTrends 2003 Country Profiles at http://earthtrends.wri.org • There are many others, including pictures of simple but contemporary agricultural activities in Liberia.
ELECTIONS DATA • Preparation of Election Rolls of Liberia • The Counties of Liberia • Localities and Polling Places • Votes and the Liberian Population
There is urgent need for quality agricultural information • “The lack of any official collection or publication of agricultural data since the war began makes it very difficult to monitor the food production status in Liberia with any degree of accuracy. It would be very useful to have a food production survey and data collection project to provide the necessary condition.” – The 1997 FAO Report • This presentation draws on the statistics that can be garnered, and objectives are designed to determine the reliability of FAO and other statistics that have been published.
Eight of the fifteen counties had more than fifty large County Localitiesin 2005 Elections
Only three Counties had more than 100,000 voters, and 9 counties had 50,000 voters or less in the 2005 Elections
The average number of votes per locality for least to most votes by counties
The excellent co-variation between the 2005 Elections Data and the FAO 1996 data, without any conspiracy to match the results, indicate that the efforts were quite legitimate, but there may be some obvious although not deliberate errors in the FAO, noting the following: • The total population of Liberia reported by the FAO 1996 Mission was 1,260,000 people, while the population that voted in 2005 was 1,320,909. The reported 2005 voting population exceeded the 1996 total population. • Other sources listed the midyear Liberian population in 1996 and 2005 as 2,024,800 and 2,900,269, respectively. (Source: http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ipc/idbsprd) • That means that the FAO 1996 data make a 38 % population underestimate. What’s about the agricultural data statistics that are presented? How accurate are they? • However, using the data from the 2005 Elections, results are that some 35 % of the total Liberian population voted. That is good, very good data, noting that only people over 18 can vote, and not everyone who is eligible would vote!
Let’s Look at Agriculture • Imported Food Crop Items and Products • Rice • Cassava • Exported Food Crop Items and Products, including • Rubber • Coffee • Cocoa • Oil palm, and • Others
Tomatoes Onions Vegetable oil Sugar Salt Milk Butter Bacon, sausages and hams Mainly Lebanese traders Wheat flour Breads and cakes Alcohols Cloths and clothes Fertilizers Pesticides Tractors and machines Mainly Lebanese, Indian, and European traders MAJOR FOOD & AGRICULTURE IMPORTS ARE EXCLUSIVE TO NON-LIBERIAN IMPORTERSIt is no secret that Liberia spends many millions on these products! We should not ignore them. Liberians need to participate in this major sector of the agricultural business enterprise.
For total rice production, Nimba, Bong, and Lofa remain the best; yet, with per capita production the story changes. Let’s do the calculations. For total cassava production, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa, and Grand Cape Mount were the top. Similarly, the per capita calculations show different results. For the major crops produced in Liberia, the per capita production may have to be calculated to tell the total story.
Rubber Coffee Cocoa Oil palm And others Similarly, Liberia needs to pay attention to its major crop exports, including
Courtesy of Dr. Konia Kollehlon, here are a few contemporary photographs of traditional protocols of agriculture in Liberia.
Let President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf award prizes based on accurate data on people and their productivity. There is need to focus on the people and their livelihood. Liberian experts can be of real assistance.
“The livestock sector was never a major feature of the agriculture in Liberia but cattle goats, pigs, and chickens were important to traditional farmers and used to be found in most areas. Their numbers have been devastated by theft and slaughter during the hostilities.”-FAO 1996/1997
Per capita productivity for each county is a start. • In that case, River Gee, River Cess, Grand Kru, and Bomi counties would be able to compete fairly with Nimba, Bong, and Montserrado County, Montserrado alone having maybe more than a third of the population of Liberia. • As an exercise to begin our thinking of the use of per capita data, we present the following comparison on data that are available for rice and cassava.
Efficient planning for maximum yields is the next step. • Engage the professionals • Use improved seeds • Use fertilizers • Protect plants and animals • Machines are too absent in agriculture in Liberia. The hoe and the cutlass are not the best route for plenty. • Plan well so that Liberia does not fail.
SELECTED REFERENCES • Government of Liberia 50 Day Action Plan: A Working Document for a New Liberia -2006. • National Elections Commission 2005 Elections Report http://www.necliberia.org/results/PresidentByCounty.html • Special Report: FAO and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Liberia 3 January 1977. http://www.fao.org/docreep/004/w3902e/w390/2e00.htm • United Nations Mission to Liberia Press Release, 20 Nove.mber, 2006
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS • Delaware State University for facilitating my being here; • Dr. Ruth Stone and Dr. Vernon Stone and the Indiana University for hosting us; • The Liberia Studies Association family that spends much time in efforts to keep a record of Liberia; and • My personal family members, including my daughter Cheryl, who have remained strong despite personal tragedies and the various other challenges we all face daily. May you and us be forever blessed.