A 19-person delegation comprising processors and stakeholders from the cassava sector of Liberia have returned home after completing a one-week cassava study tour of Nigeria.The visit afforded them the opportunity to learn about Nigeria’s cassava sector success stories, the challenges involved and the ways to improve the cassava business to ensure sustainability in job creation and the improvement of food security.The tour was the second of its kind sponsored by the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA). In November 2016, LADA sponsored a similar study tour in rice industrialization and commercialization in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).The cassava study tour was supported by the Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization (SAPEC), a MOA project, sponsored by the African Development Bank and the World Bank.Cassava is a major crop cultivated by both small and large scale farmers in Liberia.Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world and has taken major steps to industrialize and commercialize cassava production. Nigeria produces over 19% of the world production followed by Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.While in Nigeria the Liberian delegation visited a number of important institutions including FIIRO-Industrial Research Institute in Lagos, responsible for research on cassava utilization and processing; Psaltery International (Ado-Awaiye); Starch Factory and Eagleson Cassava (Iseyin, Oyo State), producer of high quality cassava flour, cassava starch, and gari.Another major establishment toured by the delegation was the Niji Lucas Enterprise (Ilero, Oyo State), producer of fabricated farming machineries, starch and high quality cassava flour. This enterprise also has a cassava plantation of over 4,000 acres. The team also visited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a cassava research venture, to assess the different technologies available, and several food laboratories and cassava businesses in Lagos.The Liberia Agricultural Transformation Agenda (LATA) foresees that cassava will improve the livelihoods of rural people and boost the economy.“The cassava study tour was a great experience for us as processors. It gave us the opportunity to see how our country can use mechanized equipment to produce more cassava to sell on the market. We lack the capacity to produce more cassava as the production of the crop is still being done manually. Now that the government and international partners are working to procure modern equipment that will boost production, we are getting ready for the market,” said Angie Howard, proprietor of Falama Incorporated.Madam Howard stated that for Liberia to become successful in the cassava industry, the government must also introduce a policy that will enhance the production and processing of cassava.“We need a regulation that will require that every bread flour or bread produced in Liberia must contain 10 percent cassava to ensure increased market opportunity for both farmers and processors,” she stated.For her part, Gertrude Cooper of the New Generational Women Farmers in Clay Ashland, Montserrado County said: “We are very thankful to the government and LADA for affording us the opportunity to travel to Nigeria and experience how our country can boost cassava production to create jobs and end hunger.”Others inspect various cassava productsShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Wongan Waterfall, Kokoyah, Bong County, central LiberiaWongan waterfall, although relatively unknown to the general public, is indeed a spectacular place to visit. As a wonder of Liberia, the waterfall showcases an awe-inspiring beauty which is manifested in the spray, the thunderous sound that accompanies the cascading water and the tranquil island beneath the waterfall.A stunning feature of the St. John River, the waterfall, located in Kokoyah District, Bong County, is said to be about 50 to 60 meters high. Its majestic beauty appears when the waterfall goes around the Wongan Island.The wide basalt cliffs over which the cascading waterfall are framed in particular ways that are different from each other; thus giving the waterfall a spectacular and unique view. Remarkably preserved in its natural state by locals, Wongan inspires visitors from several vantage points, like the “falling edge point.”At this point, a visitor can have the panoramic view of the waterfall, the cascade and the boiling pot, which is an area where the waterfall enters into the St. John River.Open to visitors throughout the year, the Wongan has a park that is boosted by a thick patch of forest, which is home to a variety of plants and animal life that are exclusive to the area. Hunting and farming activities are prohibited by locals in the forest.Activities, seasons and locationAt the waterfall, a number of activities can be undertaken, such as fishing and traditional canoe rides, swimming, and diving from the top of the waterfall for those who are brave enough.The river’s annual flood season is for six months—May to October, and during this period, the spring from the Wongan’s typically rises to a higher height and can be seen from as far as 10km away.But when the dry season, which occurs from November to April, takes effect the islet crest becomes wider as the rocky bottom becomes easily accessible.The Wongan waterfall lies on the northern bank of a village in Boisien, Kokoyah Statutory District, Bong County. From the town, it is accessible via a footpath that is a 55-minute hike.The footpath in itself is an experience to take in, in addition to the anticipation of the waterfall and the surrounding jungle. The path provides visitors with a good selection of traditional food while en route to the waterfall.Sadly, Boisien town lacks better accommodation, like hotels, guest houses, and supermarkets. But the town’s lively residents are deeply rooted in their culture.Despite poor accommodations, Wongan waterfall is a unique place of mesmerizing beauty, exciting activities, or simply to lounge in the sheer tranquility.Meanwhile, Wongan and Gbedin waterfalls, unlike Kpatawee, remains relatively unknown to the public but are exciting places to visit. Gbedin waterfall is between 25-30 meters in height and is located in Nimba County, off the road between Ganta and Sanniquellie.July 26 adventure, anyone?Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
-hopeful for owed salaries, potential job alternativesMore than seven months after financial constraints had caused Fly Jamaica to pull out of the Guyana market, Government’s Department of Labour is expected to meet with the affected staffers to address the matter of salaries owed to them and explore the possibility of job alternatives.The crashed Boeing 757 aircraftThe Department will today (Tuesday) engage the ex-staffers at its Lot 82 Upper Brickdam, Georgetown Boardroom at 11:45h.A former flight attendant of the airline, which had crash- landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in November 2018, has said she is looking forward to the issue of owed salaries being discussed at today’s meeting, and is also hoping to get back to work soon, as she has been at home since the airline has had that tragic accident.Disclosing that she is owed more than $700,000 for the period November 2018 through March 2019, she argued that passengers would have booked their flights in advance with Fly Jamaica, yet the airline is making excuses instead of paying its staffers following the accident.“I am not sure about the old employees, but for the new batch, our last salary we received was in October, so we are owed from November through March,” she disclosed.This ex-staffer further claims she is owed two weeks’ severance pay. “If I am calculating my salary (correctly), for the last five months, it would be approximately $765,000 without our severance pay,” she revealed.She told of how she had struggled to balance herself financially through this waiting phase, and reminded that workers attached to the airline are most likely the only ones who had not sued for damages, although they are owed salaries for several months.“While we weren’t doing anything (following the crash), they are obligated to pay us. They never issued a letter until March 31st. Our contract ended on March 3rd for the new batch. So we were still active employees,” she reasoned.Besides owing scores of workers, the embattled airline also owes passengers, who have found themselves in a dilemma similar to the workers’, with Fly Jamaica still trying to refund affected passengers, some of whom were left stranded following the crash.The Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) was forced to intervene in the situation following several complaints filed by angry passengers. The airline has promised to refund affected passengers by July 1.Some 46 complaints have so far been received by the CCAC, and claims therein are valued at about $8,316,504, the Commission said back in May.Initially, the airline had promised the Commission to begin payments in March, but has been unable to do so due to lack of funds. Subsequent to that announcement, Fly Jamaica had made its staff redundant at the end of March. This was announced by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Ronald Reece in a letter to employees on Friday, March 29, 2019.It has been reported that the Jamaica-based airline had employed some 400 persons; and Reece had assured employees that the compensation they are owned from November to date would be paid, but he pleaded for time to fulfil this commitment.Of the 120 passengers and eight crew members who had been on board the Boeing 757 at time of the crash on November 9, 2018, at least six had sustained injuries during the crash-landing. An 86-year-old woman died as a result of brain swelling one week after the incident.The flight had left the CJIA for Toronto at about 02:10h on November 9, 2018, but had reportedly encountered hydraulic issues, and the pilot had returned to the CJIA, where the aircraft had crash-landed at about 02:53h.