In 2018, Weah Promised via his PAPD- to take actions in the rice sector that would increase rice production from the 247K+ he met in 2017 to 357K+ tonnes in 2022. Put another way, he promised to add 110k tonnes of rice to the 247K tonnes he met. 357K tonnes of rice is approximately 7.1 million bags of 50kg rice, and because Liberians consume approximately 600k bags per month, 7.1 million bags in stock today would last up to October 2023 without a need to import a single bag of rice. But the CDC/Weah FAILED!
Instead of the additional 110K tonnes promised, only 42k tonnes- an embarrassing 62% less than what was promised-have been added to locally produced rice stock! This additional 42k tonnes is approx. 840k bags of 50kg rice that are mostly unprocessed and in the field or packed in farm kitchens across the country. All rice data from the FAO. CDC’s 2021 and 2022 rice production quantities are estimated based on 2018, 2019, and 2020 actuals.
This failure is disgraceful for a gov. that adorns itself with a development plan that inserts agriculture as the fulcrum of its growth, and poverty reduction; and is the sole reason Weah has been and remains subdued to silence since the rice crisis.
For those interested in comparing CDC/Weah’s failure on rice production to UP/Johnson-Sirleaf’s record, see here: Johnson-Sirleaf took rice production from 154K tonnes in 2005 to 291k tonnes in 2011; adding 136,200 tonnes or an 88% increase. By 2016, rice production under Johnson-Sirleaf/UP was 335K tonnes; almost three times the 2005 quantity.
Like CDC failed to add value to and bring locally produced rice from the farms to dining tables, UP equally failed earlier on. The stark difference between UP/Johnson-Sirleaf and CDC/Weah is the production quantity: UP/Johnson-Sirleaf recorded 88% increase in rice production or added additional 136K+ tonnes of rice during her first term. The CDC/Weah records an embarrassing 12% increase or have added only 42K+ tonnes after 5yrs or a few months to the end of his first and only term.
Based on the current quantity of rice that the actions of Weah in the rice sector has added to the domestically produced rice stock and given Weah’s continuous absentmindedness and tolerance for incompetence and corruption in the agriculture sector, he would need additional 10+ years (that is 15yrs total) to produce the quantity of rice Ellen added to the rice stock in 6yrs. Liberians cannot condone this! Our people deserve a BETTER LIBERIA AGENDA that can produce and process high quality rice that reach their dining tables in rural and urban Liberia.
The masses will eject Weah for failing them and delivering success only for him, his wife, and a few of his friends.
Ambulah Mamey, International Agricultural Development Practitioner