A Winning Policy for the Executive Mansion By: D. Michael Yeah Sr. Political Commentator 07786390586/0886538465 michaelyeah26@gmail.com

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The problem of rice shortage on the Liberian market is an age-old problem of which leaders of this country has yet to come to grip with in having it resolved. The year 2023 being the year of election, I find it befitting to re-echo the sentiment of this very important issue of food security for our country to politicians contending for leadership.

 One major outstanding event of such problem that erupted was the April 14, 1979 rice- riot that brought Monrovia and the entire country to its needs during the administration of William R. Tolbert. Almost all businesses in central Monrovia were looted and ransacked by protesters. Many major businesses closed down due to the negative impact of rioting that went on with those businesses. The A-Z Supermarket that was located on Camp Johnson became one of the major casualties that succumb to the rough of the rice-riot that had supermarket permanently close down to today’s date.

It was an incidence that caused President Tolbert to ask Guinean President Sekou Tore’ to send in his military fighting jet, the Migue, a Russian built fighting machine to roar over the city of Monrovia sending people running helter-scatter. It was hell that day… April 14, 1979 the Monrovia city appeared like Ukraine war zone.

The problem with rice which is the principal food item for Liberians is huge. This should be a campaign issue and should be on the ballot. People of this country cannot afford to go 24 hours without consuming rice; even if they ate other food items like yam, eddoes, cassava, potatoes or bread…whenever they are asked whether they have eaten for the day, they would definitely say NO. Their answer would be no because that day they had not consumed rice…it is at such degree at which Liberians dependency on rice is.  Farming should be one of the major issues that any politician fighting to go to the Executive Mansion should campaign on…so that when he is there, his feet would be held to the fire for accountability to the Liberian people.

The rice shortage on the market usually experienced should ring familiar bell in the ears of the Liberia people of what it means to depend on a commodity that is not produced or provided by us but rather by a sources far off elsewhere. This brings us to the realization of the shortage of wheat flour on the world market due to the Ukraine war, where the wheat product could not be made available on world market as the result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.  This scenario also should make it clear to us to be conscious of Russia stopping the supply of natural gas and petroleum products and natural gas to Europe, particularly Germany. We saw how Germany resorted to the use of coal as source of energy because they highly relied on Russia for the provision of their energy needs.

The European countries subjected themselves to the mercy of Russia for energy sufficiency because it is Russia that provides them; once the supply is stopped, they became vulnerable. Major European countries became venerable in procuring wheat flour from Ukraine and Russia, once the supply of those products stopped due to the war.

With the dependability on other country to provide Liberia with a commodity by which she survives; our plight here is synonymous to that of the European country’s dependability on energy and wheat from Russia and Ukraine. We the Liberians pray and cross fingers so that those that plant rice and provide us with the commodity DO NOT close the flow of this food item to our country. This is a horrible and scary apprehension to hang over a nation.

What will happen to Liberians should the provider of rice supply for the county be confronted with natural disaster such as drought, flood or unfortunately be involved in arms conflict like war with its neighbors and the flow of rice to our country stops…that would be a scary supposition. What will we eat as a nation? Where can we go for food? These questions should be answered by the politicians of the country with all citizens’ hands on deck… the political policies of politicians must be girdled with the steadfast and tenacity to provide answers to these questions…

As a nation, we must now be able to create and provide what we eat… so that we can eat what we provide. Any politician that will gas-light food security as the central plank of his policy will win the Executive Mansion. We must be able to grow our own rice here in Liberia. National leaders should provide the incentives, equipment, and land and spearhead the drive to massively engage into mechanized farming. A bold move by the Liberian government to institute a mechanized farming program is here advocated for.  The 2023 general election should hold all contesting politicians accountable to consider mechanized rice farming program to canvas on it as the central policy plank. Mechanized farming is the way forward to secure our food security, not subsistent farming.

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