President George M. WeahPresident George Weah has reiterated agriculture as critical to the transformation of Liberia’s economy. As such, the President said his administration is rationalizing government’s expenditures to put more money to the sector to improve food security.He made the pronouncement on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in his pre-recorded nationwide address.The President presented his speech against the backdrop of the mounting economic hardship facing the country where prices of basic commodities are sharply rising to the detriment of ordinary citizens.He added, “We are delivering a new and improved fiscal policy that will be announced with the passage of a credible national budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. In the last several years, we have passed a budget that exceed our revenues potentials. We are now working together with counterparts in other agencies of government to pass a realistic budget.”“To achieve this,” the President said, “We will require sacrifices from all, because our actions will involve reform of our large wage bill, rationalizing government’s spending to put more resources to critical areas like health, education and agriculture.”Experts in the sector said since the end of the Liberian civil crisis (1989-2003), the country’s budget for agriculture is yet to align with the mandate of African leaders to allot 10 percent annually, this many stakeholders anticipate adherence.Up to current, the budget for agriculture remains at 3 percent annually with additional funding coming from external sources such as the World Bank, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), African Development Bank and donor countries.However, despite these external sources for agriculture, experts are of the opinion that growth in the sector still remain elusive as smallholder farmers are faced with numerous challenges.It can be recalled that the President lamented the low agricultural productivity during his second annual message to the joint session of the 54th Legislature on Monday, January 28, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Elsewhere: Unusual Takes on IndiaEd by Kai Friese Penguin Price: Rs 250The head honcho at Penguin India confessed to me a couple of years ago that it was house policy not to publish any material that had already seen the light of day in a newspaper, book or magazine. The,Elsewhere: Unusual Takes on IndiaEd by Kai Friese Penguin Price: Rs 250The head honcho at Penguin India confessed to me a couple of years ago that it was house policy not to publish any material that had already seen the light of day in a newspaper, book or magazine. The arrival of Elsewhere, therefore, gave me a bit of a turn since the 20 essays in it have already appeared in The India Magazine between 1996 and 1998, when Kai Friese was the magazine’s editor.One is relieved that Penguin has had a change of heart on what it ought to publish, else these extraordinary nuggets might never have been blessed with a second coming. The India Magazine silently slipped away into oblivion some years ago, not obviously for the material it printed.In his introduction, Friese asserts his sole responsibility lay in providing the current publishers with what he thought was the best writing of his editorial stint with the magazine. He has chosen shrewdly. Much is written about inscrutable India and the nightmare of attempting to pigeonhole its diversity into neat subheads.These authors have their quills unerringly on the pulse of the country and can fathom “the grain of daily life, its pleasures and perils”. “The House on Debendra Ghose Road” is a fine chronicle of a few hours spent through “the arena of privileged domesticity and sexuality” within an ancient and venerable mansion, in the company of three elderly gentlemen on a hot April morning.Mobile mobility: The book captures the many dynamics of IndiaAmit Chaudhuri is a master of language and at moments quite surpasses Charles Lamb, whom he undoubtedly read at Balliol. An Englishman is found with his throat slit in a hotel in Goa. The author is given the task by the victim’s policemanbrother of bringing the culprits to book.In a riveting expose, Bishakha Datta converts subtly from sniffing bloodhound to rationalist patriot, indifferent in the end to “The Death of a Tourist”, since “all conventional signposts of morality have dissolved into a landscape of greys where there is no right, no wrong, no good, no bad, no truth, no lies”.advertisementBut gore and nostalgia aside, my favourite pieces include Pankaj Mishra’s evocative reportage of Sonia Gandhi’s fumbling foray into politics while campaigning in Goa (“Among the Believers”) where, in the finest traditions of Italian soap opera, “a middle-class woman from near Torino tries to rescue India’s oldest political party from extinction”; and Manjula Padmanabhan’s “Transports of Delight”, where the wicked three-wheeled scooter rickshaw is lyrically immortalised, both in prose and illustration.I reserve the laurel, however, for Anita Roy, who with brevity of space and stiletto sharp wit has portrayed the “nouveau Rajas and their dishevelled, bored, expat Maharani-manqus”, former inhabitants of middle-class Wimbledon who domicile temporarily in diplomatic postings amongst sweaty natives, subsuming their overt racism in “the sweet cloud of white meringue” on the high commissioner’s immaculately manicured lawns.”All Indians are ch—yas,” says a CBI official to the investigative journalist in “Tourist”. Perhaps, but the 20 essays show us up to be a marvellously diverse people, unfazed by poverty and squalor, sporting the will to survive against all odds and overcome in the end. Vive le difference!
zoom A 39-year-old Croatian crewman has been evacuated from the crude oil tanker MV Almi Navigator off Port Elizabeth, South Africa.The ship reported the patient to Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and after a Government Health EMS duty doctor evaluated the patient in communications with the ship, the ship was diverted to Port Elizabeth for a patient evacuation.“An injury to the crewman’s leg sustained onboard earlier in the month had progressively worsened and after evaluation by the EMS duty doctor an evacuation to hospital was ordered for as soon as possible,” Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, said.The sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft was launched accompanied by EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedics.It rendezvoused with the ship off the shore of Port Elizabeth in the early evening hours the same day and the patient, walking wounded, was transferred onto the sea rescue craft. He was brought to shore and transported to hospital in a stable condition for further medical treatment, NSRI informed.