By Oalndo Testimony Zeongar
LIBERIA – The biblical adage that one reaps what she or he sows, became a reality in the life of Unity Party Standard Bearer, former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai (JNB), when his good work and kind deeds rendered humanity years back while he served as the first Managing Director of the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC), came back in the form of a warm reception and gifts lavished on him by some citizens of Nimba County when he recently visited there.
At the behest of citizens in the municipality of Garplay, located in Liberia’s northern Nimba County, the Unity Party Standard Bearer Ambassador Boakai, during the last week of last year, visited that part of the country and met with various citizen groupings including the youth, widows, civil society actors, and as well as elders of the vote-rich county.
The visit was intended for the former Vice President and Standard Bearer of the Unity Party to exchange views with citizens in the area, on the way forward for Liberia, according to a statement from former VP Boakai’s office.
The Nimba citizens warmly received JNB and presented him with several gifts including colorful traditional gowns, livestock, and others.
The gifts given to the Unity Party Political Leader, were mostly tokens of appreciation largely from small-holder cocoa and coffee farmers, as their way of reciprocating JNB’s goodwill and his outstanding work in Nimba County when he headed the LPMC in the 1980s.
From 1980-1982, Ambassador Boakai was Managing Director of the LPMC, a period in which he increased the Corporation’s productivity and income, and saved the entity more than half of a million dollars annually, as a result of his innovation to have removed the company’s processing plant from Monrovia to Gbarnga and Voinjama, in Bong and Lofa Counties respectively.
By removing from Monrovia the LPMC’s processing plant, then Managing Director Boakai, made a prudent economic decision, as in the two new locations where the plant was relocated, the shell on cherry coffee could be used for a variety of purposes including manufacturing locally made soap and soda used to prepare torborgi, a local delicacy, according to Dr. Sakui Malakpa, the author of Joe Boakai’s biography titled “From Foya to the Capitol.”
As opposed to such useful purposes that followed the relocation of the LPMC processing plant to Bong and Lofa Counties, which yielded vast economic dividends, Dr. Malakpa narrates that resources were required to hire someone in Monrovia to dispose of extracted coffee shells.
Boakai, while also serving as MD of the LPMC, introduced and enforced a company policy that allowed workers to own vehicles, a decision that endeared him to hundreds of employees of the Corporation, many of whom to date, are of the conviction that the Unity Party Standard Bearer is not a one who thinks only of himself, but an individual who is always concern about the well-being of others.
During his service with the LPMC as Managing Director of the entity, to the benefit of the Government of Liberia, JNB increased the price of high-grade coffee chips on the local market from five cents per pound, a price that he believed was a robbery of the company due to the quality and the amount of the products involved.
He firstly increased the price for a pound of the premier coffee to ten cents and later to fifteen cents, thereby significantly increasing LPMC’s income.
Joe Boakai, while serving in the position of MD of the LPMC, instituted many reform initiatives that sparked changes and improvements at the company – reform initiatives that were responsible for the entity’s numerous achievements. Photo credit: Charles Snetter