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Liberian President awarded Ceres Medal

First elected female African President receives FAO award

8 December 2008, Monrovia, Rome - Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has received the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) Ceres Medal in honour of her outstanding contribution to food security and agricultural development, FAO said today.

During a 6 December ceremony at the National Agricultural Fair in the Northern Liberian town of Voinjama, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf conferred the medal on President Sirleaf, noting that despite the degradation of the nation’s agricultural sector following two wars, the country has recognized improvement of agriculture as a prerequisite for national development.

In presenting the Ceres Medal, which is named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, Diouf lauded President Sirleaf for maintaining her determination to invest in agriculture, even amid the international financial crisis.

During his two-day visit to Liberia, Diouf toured projects aimed at improving agriculture in Liberia. He visited an FAO-donated veterinary laboratory in Fendell, near the capital Monrovia, and also met with representatives of other UN agencies and with Ministers of Agriculture of neighbouring countries.

A coastal country in West Africa bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, with a population of more than 3.3 million, Liberia is striving to rebuild the infrastructure and institutions which suffered from neglect during 14 years of war that ended in 1996. In 2003, more than half the population of Liberia was estimated to be undernourished.

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