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Liberia Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
Liberia is a prominent agricultural country and agriculture now accounts for a larger share of the country's economy than before the war, as this sector has recovered faster than other industries.
Nearly two-thirds of the population work in agriculture and most grow for their own use. Rice and cassava are the most important crops. During the civil wars, the rice crop declined sharply, while the more lightly cultivated cassava was not affected as much and became a more important ingredient in food keeping than before. Since 2004, the rice harvest has increased again, not least through the introduction of a refined rice variety that gives higher yields. At the same time, almost as much rice is imported as the country itself grows. Liberia also grows cane sugar, bananas, plane trees, sweet potatoes and jams for domestic consumption.
For export, natural rubber is grown mainly on six foreign-owned plantations; the largest is owned by Japanese-American Bridgestone / Firestone. Rubber production stagnated in the 1970s and 1980s due to competition from Southeast Asia, and the wars meant a further decline. After the war, production rose but fell again during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Since then, it has recovered somewhat. Bridgestone / Firestone has been criticized by, among other things, the UN for the hard exploitation of its employees and for child labor. Conditions are said to have improved through the intervention of the Liberian government and trade unions (see Labor Market).
The production of palm oil, coffee and cocoa ceased almost entirely during the war, but has again started on a small scale. Long-term plans exist for a more extensive production of palm oil for export, where mainly Southeast Asian companies have received concessions, but where several of those who started operations have also been criticized for disregarding such things as labor law, human rights, environmental considerations etc.
Liberia has significant assets in forests, covering 45 percent of the country's area. There are hundreds of species, but most valuable are mahogany and African walnut. However, a lot of forest is harvested for use as fuel. The forest population was subjected to uncontrolled harvesting, with the resultant severe calving, both during the First Civil War and during Charles Taylor's time as President (see Modern History). The UN Security Council banned the export of Liberian timber in 2003, as revenue from the forest industry was considered to help finance conflicts in the region. The ban was lifted in 2006, after the government demolished all agreements and concessions and established a new authority to monitor the forest industry. However, unclear ownership conditions and illegal logging resulted in the authority being partially reconstructed in 2014 and several of its managers were brought to trial.
Fishing is carried out along the coast and in the rivers, but almost exclusively for household needs and using traditional fishing methods.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
37.4 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
28.0 percent (2016)
Journalist is released
FrontPageAfrica's editor Rodney Sieh is released, and the magazine can start relaunching after a police report against him has been withdrawn.
Two journalists are arrested
This happens after they accused the government of corrupt radio broadcasting by awarding a company owned by a close relative of the president a large road maintenance contract. The program is led by radio profile Henry Costa. The journalists are released when the complaint against them is withdrawn.
Robert Sirleaf leaves
The president's zone leaves both as chairman of the board of the oil company Nocal and as adviser to the president. His appointment to the post in the oil company (see April 2012) has become a symbol of the nepotism (brother-in-law) to which President Johnson Sirleaf is accused. Among those who demanded his resignation are Leymah Gbowee, who along with the president won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Gbowee has gradually turned into one of the president's toughest critics.
Taylor's appeal is denied
The Special Court of Sierra Leone decides at the end of September that the verdict against Charles Taylor (see April 2012 and January 2013) is upheld. It thus dismisses Taylor's appeal, claiming that mistakes were made during the 2012 trial. In October, it is clear that the former president should serve his sentence in the United Kingdom. However, he says he would rather go to Rwanda, where it will be easier for his family to visit him. According to a Liberian newspaper, Taylor is worried about his own safety if he has to serve the sentence in a British prison. However, he arrives in the UK in the middle of the month.
Authorities close the newspaper
Tensions rise between the government and the media as the independent FrontPageAfrica newspaper closes and its editor, Rodney Sieh, of the Supreme Court is sentenced to pay $ 1.6 million in damages for defamation by a former minister. The newspaper must not come out until the entire sum has been paid. FrontPageAfrica had published articles in 2009 where the minister was accused of corruption; he was later forced to leave his government post.
Criticism against the police
Even in a report by Human Rights Watch , the police are criticized for widespread corruption, but also for abuses against, above all, people living in the margins of society. At the same time, the police find it difficult to do their job due to lack of resources; they can lack both cars and gasoline to drive the vehicles, working days are long and wages are low (US $ 135 a month). However, according to the report, some improvements have been made, for example, the torture of people taken into custody has decreased.
Bone breakage common
According to Transparency International's World Corruption Survey in July, Liberia is one of the countries where bribery is most common. Three out of four Liberians say they paid bribes in the past year. According to the report, the Liberian police force is one of the most corrupt in the world.
Agreements are criticized
An independent audit shows major problems with the agreements that the government has concluded with companies that exploit the country's natural resources. Only two of 68 agreements have been drawn up correctly, in many cases the government is breaking the law and the corruption is extensive. For example, the agreements with the oil companies ExxonMobil and Canadian Overseas Petroleum, which search for oil in Liberia, state that the Liberian state receives only five percent in royalties instead of the ten percent prescribed by law. However, the Government believes that the problems arise most quickly due to a lack of resources and not corruption, and that the audit has been done to address the problems.
Anti-corruption fight with obstacles
In connection with a government transformation, the president is again criticized for not wanting to deal with major problems such as corruption, and for being unwilling to intervene against people from his immediate circle. Only one minister is relocated and some in lower positions are allowed to go, even though suspicions of corruption have been directed at a number of government members and several have been criticized for poor results. For example, Education Minister Etmonia Tarpeh is allowed to keep the job despite President Johnson Sirleaf noticing the shortcomings of the country's education system as late as February. However, several people further down the department's hierarchy may go.
The Anti-Corruption Commission has so far only had one person convicted since the work began in 2008.
Charles Taylor appeals
The former president is appealing the conviction in Sierra Leone Special Court (see April 2012). He is also said to have written to the Liberian Parliament and requested that his pension as president be paid.