|What is it, what it does?
The Liberian Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) represents one of the significant annexes to the agricultural sector of Liberia whose statutory responsibilities among other things include mainly the export trade of Liberian cocoa and coffee.
Created by a 1961 Legislative Act, LPMC was originally jointly owned by the Government of Liberia (51%) and the East Asiatic Company (EAC) of Denmark 49% share.
The Government of Liberia (GOL) later applied and purchased the share of the latter in 1974 following Thirteen years of joint operation thus granting the sole ownership status to the GOL.
Until the unfortunate intervention of the Liberian civil crisis, which desperately bruised and damaged the social and economic fabric of the nation, LPMC stood economically gainful as evidenced by its millions of dollars worth of infrastructures including the Voinjama, Gbarnga, Zwedru and Ganta estates from where Paddy rice and coffee used to be processed.
Unfortunately, today it lies economically vulnerable due to the damage it sustained as a result of thievery and other unpatriotic acts including vandalization that customarily accompanied the war. Hence, its economic viability has been grossly stalled while the cocoa and coffee farms that used to experience the requisite care, growth and other attention under its supervision suffered suffocation from the bushes. Resultantly LPMC is regarded the mission link in the Liberian economy that needs resurrection and recreation in its original capacity so that its contribution including training of farmers and provision of needed seedlings, milling and sale of paddy rice, farm extension program among other related functions can be fully restored.
A renewal approach to restore the corporation to its prewar status is being pursued by the current management team in all possible ways and means among which personnel reformations, appropriate placement as well as other structural adjustments are being effected. The prevailing internationally prescribed policy of market liberalization coupled with management’s financial incapacitation has resulted into the involvement of private buyers (exporters, cooperatives, agents) who currently enjoy a considerable portion of franchise granted by management while it (Management) plays a regulatory and supervisory role.
More paramount is the consideration of the rehabilitation of its damaged infrastructure including the estates in Voinjama, Lofa County; Gbarnga, Bong County; Ganta, Nimba County and Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
Before the dismantling of the states by the fifteen years of war, these estates effectively served as processing plants for rice, cocoa and coffee thereby increasing local food production and reducing the habit of dependability among the farmers.
The rehabilitation of these estates would obviously germinate the lost hope of the leeward inhabitants while minimizing the prevalence of poverty.
Given its considered reformation method in its drive to regain growth and development following wasted years of national destruction, management principally aims at farms’ rehabilitation, purchase of paddy and seed rice for both milling and selling on the local market as well as redistribution to farmers for replanting respectively. The 86 acres rehabilitated Compound #2 cocoa farm in Grand Bassa County and the installed 850Kg rice mills in Gbarnga and Ganta, Nimba County respectively are practically the telling examples.
At the administrative circle there is a Managing Director along with two (2) deputies all of whom are appointed by the President, while the Comptroller is nominated by the Managing Director for onward appointment by the Board of Directors, whose Chairman customarily happens to be the Minister of Agriculture.
The Managing Director principally steers the affairs of the corporation assisted by the Deputy Managing Directors for Administration and Operations respectively. As principal deputy, the Deputy Managing Director for Administration handles all administrative related matters including personnel, security and maintenance while the Deputy Managing Director for Operations handles the Corporation’s outreach programs such as farms management and estates among others.
There are six (6) standing departments as a result of Management’s reform scheme. They include:
2. Quality Control
3. Marketing & Planning
5. General Services
6. Public Relations
The Department of Agriculture fundamentally serves as the pillar upon which the corporation operates since principally its objectives are agriculture related.
Quality Control Department examines the quality of produce and makes appropriate grading before being export packed.
The Planning and Marketing Department designs corporate polices and programs as they relate to short and long-term plans for farms’ productivity and capacity building, among others while at the same time conducting workshops for exporters, agents and cooperatives on marketing procedures. It also prepares cocoa and coffee price circulars at the commencement of every produce season.
The Accounts Department keeps records on all financial transactions and ensures that budgetary allocations are expended in line with approved cash plan by the Budget Bureau.
The General Services Department is responsible for all repair works including maintenance and procurement.
The department of Public Relations, which is annexed to the office of the Managing Director, advises management on press and public affairs related matters including the promotion of Liberian cocoa and coffee.
These Departments are annexed by sections, which play implementing roles in ensuring that the administrative chain is kept orderly. They include security, personnel, clinic, marketing, production, procurement and audit.
|Corporate Farms and their Locations
During its booming period (1962 – 1990), LPMC, under its farm extension program, established estates and demonstration farms including seed gardens in Lofa, Bong, Bassa, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties respectively.
In Compound #2, Grand Bassa County, there exists an 86 acres of cocoa farms (just been rehabilitated) under LPMC/ Mercy Corps Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). There exists also 186 acres of bush-overrun coffee farm that needs rehabilitation.
Bong County also hosts 143 acres of palm farm in addition to 146 acres of coffee farm that needs rehabilitation.
In Lofa there is 56.5 acres of palm farm in addition to 186 acres of coffee farm that require rehabilitation.
In Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, LPMC owns 50 acres of coffee farm that is presently overwhelmed by bushes while in Zleh Town it has 3,500 acres of palm farm.
There are four dilapidated Estates as a result of the war. They include Voinjama Estate, Gbarnga Estate, Zwedru Estate and Ganta Estate all of which used to serve as coffee, oil and rice processing plants.