The United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, yesterday signed a US$124,755 agreement with several community groups across the country.The Self-Help Fund will provide US$99,755 in grant money to support community development initiatives focused on income generation and skills development, while the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) will provide US$25,000 to support community-based food security projects.These funds originated from two sources—the “Ambassador’s Special Self Help Funds” and the USADF respectively.According to Amb. Malac, the USADF was established in Togo in 1964 as an experimental and modest self-help program for Africa. It is now one of the most successful assistance initiatives in Africa and covers the entire continent.The US Envoy said the USADF is a grassroots assistance program that lets Ambassadors respond quickly to small community-based development projects that promise to have immediate impact.“Self-Help Fund projects always include an important and significant contribution by the participants. In Liberia this often includes provision of labor, land and other materials,” she explained.Ambassador Malac stated that since the program began in Liberia in 2004, it has funded 157 projects for a total of over US$695,000, covering all 15 counties with over 252,000 beneficiaries.She further stated that in 2009, the USADF contributed various amounts of money from US$25,000 to US$50,000 to fund small-scale projects to promote food security.USADF is an independent federal agency established to support African-designed and African-driven grassroots solutions to economic and social problems.“This year,” said Amb. Malac, ‘’the embassy received over 100 proposals, from which 17 projects were selected. Of those projects 13 will be funded through U.S. State Department’s Economic Support Funds while four will be funded from ADF grants.”This year’s projects focus on a variety of income generation opportunities including support to those in the agricultural sector for the cultivation of cassava, rice and vegetables, said the American Ambassador. Other income generation projects include skills training in soap making, beekeeping, animal husbandry and the provision of cassava grinders and machines used for processing palm oil and kernel oil.The projects this year are located in Margibi, Bomi, Nimba, Lofa, Maryland, Montserrado, Grand Kru, Grand Cape Mount and Grand Bassa counties.“We are thrilled to established these partnerships and we hope this signing ceremony is the start of a long and meaningful relationship between the U.S. Embassy and the local communities,” Amb. Malac declared.Aaron Kollie, chief executive officer of Power TV who spoke on behalf of the grantees, thanked Ambassador Malac and the U.S. government for the bilateral agreement between the two countries. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
As Congress works to conclude business before adjourning for the year, reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit is still pending and the American Soybean Association (ASA) is asking growers to contact your House and Senate offices to reiterate soybean industry support.ASA continues to work for enactment of a tax extenders package that includes a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax credit and we will continue to update you on developments.Last week updated stand-alone, marker legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit and reform it to a producer’s credit beginning in 2016. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), while the Senate version was introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) as an update to their earlier legislation that passed the Senate Finance Committee in July.In addition to restructuring it from a blender’s to a producer’s tax credit to further bolster the domestic biodiesel industry and reduce costs, the bills also include an important technical update ensuring that biodiesel used on-farm, as Bioheat, or other off-road applications will not incur excise tax at any point and avoids the need for a refund process for those applications.Senators and Representatives are urged to sign-on to the Grassley-Cantwell and/or Noem-Pascrell marker bills to demonstrate support for the biodiesel tax credit as Congress negotiates the parameters of a tax extenders package.The biodiesel tax credit expired again on Dec. 31, 2014. Extension of the tax incentive is critical to the industry’s existence and growth. In July, the Senate Finance Committee passed a tax extenders package that includes a two year extension of the biodiesel credit retroactive for 2015 and through Dec. 31, 2016. It would remain a blender’s credit for 2015 but shift to a producer’s credit for 2016.ASA, along with our partners at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), support a restructuring of the tax credit from a blender’s credit to a production tax creditShifting from a blender’s credit to a producer’s credit would restrict the ability of foreign subsidized biodiesel – often coming from countries that do not allow reciprocal access to their markets for U.S. biodiesel – to displace domestically produced biodiesel in our own market. Shifting to a production credit would also reduce the score for the cost of the biodiesel tax credit.This change will further support domestic biodiesel production versus imported biodiesel, improve administration of the incentive, eliminate potential abuses and improve tax compliance. Shifting to a production credit would also reduce the score for the cost of the biodiesel tax credit.Visit the Soy Action Center, for an email with background and talking points for your use in communicating with congressional offices.If you have any questions, please contact Tom Hance in the ASA Washington office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-969-7040.