“I Am Not Going To Be In The Office” Agriculture Minister – Designate Recounts
Liberia’s Agriculture Minister-designate, Ms. Jeanine M. Cooper has recounted that when she’s confirmed by the Liberian Senate she will not be an office Minister.
Ms. Cooper speaking to newsmen in Kakata over the weekend said she will be the first female Agriculture Minister that will be seen going to work in jeans.
“I am here to work and the President had said he wanted a practical person, you can’t be practical when you sitting down behind the documents; I am 100% comfortable and conversant with the documents, we’ve seen it, we’ve read it we’ve studied it we know it now it’s the time to do it” she explained.
Ms. Cooper indicated that her vision is to expand the cultivation of all crops pointing out that there are lots of lands that are uncultivated while there are not enough farms working. She says enough farmers are working on tiny plants as such; she wants to expend cultivation for those farmers to have a larger area under cultivation.
Secondly, the Minister-designate said she will be looking at boosting agri-business and the private sector adding, ‘because Agriculture is not just farming, you can farm all days and when you’re not able to sell it you are not successful.
She noted that through those two ways they are looking at how they can catalyze rural development which is her background and her other passion to see the rural parts of the Country come up into their rightful position in the economy.
Ms. Cooper averred that the Agriculture sector has been lacking behind the productive sector for many years and she is not seeing herself as one that will change everything, but she do believe that working together with the government and the President who has assured her of his full support as well as working together with the development partners, those in the private sector and the farmers whom she has worked with for the last few years, they can transform Agriculture.
She furthered that one of the first things she would like to do requires that a baseline is set and to understand what they have, what potential they have and what people are already doing.
Madam Jeanine M. Cooper noted that with all of the support that she is being promised, she is hoping that within six months there can be an Agriculture Investment Forum in Liberia where they can bring in not just development partners.
She states that Liberia is very dependent on development partners such as the World Bank and donors among others, but said she wants to bring in private investors and catalyze Liberian investors and Liberian businesses and farms that are already working.
“Let’s see how we can boost them and expend them so that this transformation in our economy is owned by us.
Meanwhile, Ms. Cooper has termed her appointment as a big surprise even though she was vocal and everybody knows her in the Agriculture sector speaking about it.
She mentioned that it had not been in her plans to work in this capacity (Minister) as she wanted to continue in the private sector because she believes that the sector is where the development will happen in Liberia.
She lauded President George Manneh Weah for affording her the opportunity to see how they can work together to transform Agriculture something she added can transform Liberia’s Economy.