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Naymote Holds
Dialogue On Agriculture

By Grace Q. Bryant
Naymote, Partners for Democratic Development, in partnership with USAID has concluded with a one-day high level stakeholders’ dialogue on agriculture concession in Montserrado County.
The gathering which brought together over 20 Civil Society Organizations from across the county and members of the National Bureau of Concession with the overall goal to share feedbacks and findings or recommendations from the social audit as well as to gather shared insights on the regulatory framework around concession.
Reading the overview of the dialogue on behalf of the Executive Director, Joshua Cleon said that this social audit was designed to identify the benefits and corporate social responsibility promised to counties hosting four agricultural concessions including benefits promised for concession affected communities in particular.
According to him, the primary focus of the review is that different concession policies, identify discrepancies, lapses gather recommendations of current concession models as well as explore potential policy recommendations that could address the current situation of land gabs in the country.
Giving the presentation on key findings from social audit conducted on concession in Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Margibi, the Project Consultant, Ishmael Flomo revealed that poor concessionaire community relations have been a major flashpoint of tension in countries hosting concessions.
According to him, some believe that it is due to limited understanding of community residents about the terms and conditions of the concession agreements particularly around social benefits for concession affected communities.
The studies also showed that there are poor provisions of social services by concession companies such as electricity, water and education, etc, to the employees of concession companies.
Flomo further stated that there is limited information flow between the concessions’ affected communities and concessionaires as well as between the local government and the citizens.
“The four concessions share a number of features thereby placing emphasis upon plantation development and limited interaction with out-growers,” he added.
Mr. Flomo noted that the agriculture concession landscape in Liberia needs significant policy review to ensure that existing agricultural concession policies and investment benefits citizens, the country and concessionaire.
He also commended that the government of Liberia needs to consider the concerns of citizens documented by this social audit as an early warning tool to begin constructive engagements not just with the concessionaires but also with community stakeholders and broader citizenry about the way forward.
Adding that the government of Liberia needs to consider revising the current approach to out-growers’ program therefore consider outsourcing the implementation of out-growers programs to reputable private sector investors with capacity.
The Government of Liberia also needs to review the implementation of existing policies around agricultural concession to improve community concessionaire relations, community perception about agricultural concessionaire and local government environmental protection and gender issues.
The policy Analyst at Governance Commission, Rameses Porte, thanked Naymote for the job, adding that he learned more about problems people’s facing in the society and prayed that the agreement on Concessions will create awareness between the company and community.

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