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Thursday, February 22, 2024

GONGLOE PROFFERS REMEDIES TO FOOD SCARCITY IN LIBERIA – SAYS IT’S A SHAME LIBERIANS IMPORT PEPPER FROM GUINEA

Date:

By Olando Testimony Zeongar

LIBERIA – Presidential hopeful Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has proffered remedies to food scarcity in Liberia, especially rice, the country’s staple.

Liberia is currently experiencing a rice crisis, with the commodity being in high demand following weeks of acute shortage of the country’s staple on the local market

Upon his return to the country recently from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President George Weah was greeted with news of rice scarcity in Liberia, but in response to a journalist’s question on the matter at the Roberts International Airport, the Liberian leader shrugs it off, stating at the time that claims of rice shortage in the country were street talks that should not be given credence, even though such claims are actually valid.

Howbeit, Gongloe, a reputable career lawyer and Standard Bearer of the Liberian People Party (LPP), has asserted that it’s a shame that Liberia imports pepper from neighboring Guinea and also relies on imported rice to feed a population of just 5 million people, while India with a population of over a billion grows surplus rice to feed its people and exports its excess, bulk of which he says land in Liberia on a regular basis.

“It’s a shame we import pepper from Guinea next door, and we have more fertile land here than Guinea,” Gongloe stated.

“It is also a shame for us that India that is more than one billion people can produce rice, eat it, satisfy their population and send the excess to us, as export – it’s shameful, and we are just 5 million and we have vast land that agriculturists have said is very rich,” said Gongloe, who indicated that the only sustainable way to avoid rice scarcity in Liberia and not to promote importation, is by promoting the growing of rice, and as well as to grow all of what Liberians eat.

He continued: “every country in the world, whether it’s America, it’s China, Malaysia, even right in West Africa, the Ghanaians and the Nigerians, they grow their yam, they grow corn and that’s what they eat. So, you’ve got to feed yourself.”

The LPP’s political leader, who made these assertions Monday in an interview with a local radio station, maintained that the only sustainable way to have rice in Liberia is to produce the commodity.

He recalled that when he served as Keynote Speaker at Liberia’s Armed Forces Day celebration last year, he recommended that the country’s military takes the lead in alleviating the shortage of rice shortage which takes place sporadically in the country under successive regimes.

Gongloe accentuated that the role of the military is to defend Liberia and Liberians against enemy forces, but according to him, right now, the nation is not faced with any external aggressions, except that the only enemy combatting the country, for now, is what he referred to as hunger.

He noted that in the presence of lawmakers at the Armed Forces Day official ceremony last year, he, therefore, recommended that the Government of Liberia led by President George Weah, make appropriations for the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Agriculture Battalion to be given machines to clear large portions of land for rice production in the country.

“The military works under command, [if] they are commanded to do so, they will jumpstart the rice production to help secure us because the role of the military is to provide collective security against our enemies – and now the only enemy we have is hunger and the military should be called into force by the CIC, giving them the weapons to fight hunger, which would be the agriculture machines; the tractors, the combined harvesters, fertilizers and everything to grow rice,” Gongloe emphasized, wondering, “why is the [AFL] Agriculture Battalion just sitting and being paid without doing anything?”

The LPP’s Standard Bearer says when elected president in 2023, in line with his governance policy to ensure food sufficiency, during his reign, the Agriculture Cooperative and Development Bank would be revitalized, and that through the Bank, a 15-year interest-free loan through farming machines such as tractors and combined harvesters would be given to various farmers’ cooperatives throughout the 15 counties of Liberia to produce rice, pepper, bitter-ball, and all of what Liberians eat.

Gongloe, who threw a jab at President Weah, likened the Liberian leader to the father of a household, stating that “if you are a father and you can’t feed your family, you are irresponsible.”

The LPP man accused President Weah of being a failure, indicating that the Liberian leader has failed everywhere, including in his native Grand Kru County, where Gongloe claims he’s more popular than the retired soccer player.

“Everybody in this country, even in Grand Kru, knows that George Weah has failed. He has failed everywhere. I am very popular in Grand Kru,” said Gongloe, who inferred that President Weah’s failure was birthed when he took power and immediately began amassing wealth in the first year of his six-year tenure.

“So, he has failed everywhere. Because once he got to power and built 47-storey buildings for himself in the first year that was a huge mistake because everybody under him started acquiring properties too for themselves,” said Gongloe, who added that presidents the world over set the standard for every country.

The broom-carrying presidential hopeful, who believes the government is a place to serve and not steal, charged the Weah-led government of being corrupt, and for this, he would not win re-election in 2023, when Liberians go to the polls in the country’s general and presidential elections.

He said corruption in Liberia is based upon greed stimulated by ignorance, slamming Weah and his officials for not just being corrupt but that they are both ignorant and arrogant.

He justified that Weah and the officials of his government are greedy and ignorant, noting that if they were aware that in Liberia, a president was once assassinated and 13 of his ministers who were well-accomplished people; educated, and had a lot of money were executed showing the anger of those who carried out the coupe at that time saying the number one reason for the coup was rampant corruption, everybody would be afraid to be corrupt.

“But the fact that they are still corrupt shows a high level of ignorance, and that ignorance is even worse because when you are ignorant and humble, you have a chance of redemption. But these people are ignorant and arrogant. So they are irredeemable. And because of that, they are not going to win,” Gongloe maintained.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet, a product of Smart Media Group Inc. smartnewsliberia.com publishes a wide range of content including politics, business, sports, and entertainment on and about Liberia. Contact: +231777425285/ 886946925 Email: info@smartnewsliberia.com/ smartnewsliberia@gmail.com

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