According to AllAfrica.com, farmers in Liberia are blaming perceived climatic changes on the government’s policy of allocating large-scale concessions for mining, logging, and agriculture. A Liberian non-governmental organization, Green Advocates, organized a workshop in southeast Liberia during which farmers and other participants cited deforestation and forest degradation from large-scale concessions as a major factor in the changing climate in Liberia. Despite the tenuous nature of such attributions, the story highlights the increasing frustration of many rural stakeholders in Liberia over the government’s concession policy. Many participants also rejected the ongoing criticism of rotational slash-and-burn agriculture, practiced by many in areas of customary tenure, as the primary driver of deforestation in Liberia. They noted that the government continues to allocate concessions for logging and other land-uses that result in more widespread deforestation than the agricultural practices of farmers in rural areas.
USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation are supporting efforts by the Government of Liberia (GOL) to develop a comprehensive land policy, reform land administration, recognize customary rights over land in rural areas, and better coordinate the allocation of concessions with other land uses. The USAID Land Policy Institutional Support Project is providing technical assistance to the Liberian Land Commission and other GOL stakeholders to develop a national land policy, based upon a transparent, broadly based consultative process. The issue of concessions is one of many issues that the policy and subsequent legal reforms will seek to address.