At least 72 youth chosen from Bong, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado, Gbarpolu and Bomi counties are today ending a 3-day conference that seeks to encourage them to participate in agricultural activities in their communities.
Speaking at the opening of the conference on Wednesday at the Rick’s Institute in Virginia, outside Monrovia, 4-H Liberia Executive Director Umaru Sheriff said the conference is meant to train the youth in better agricultural skills so that they can go back and teach others.
“Agriculture has the potential to build a vibrant nation but many of our youth are yet to take agriculture seriously. We want to eradicate the notion from the youth who think that this profession is only for poor people. That is why we have convened this conference,” said Sheriff.
He said the participants will benefit from working with tools and improved teaching materials which young club leaders will use to impact many of their peers after the project.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah in his remarks said there is a need for young people to see agriculture as a profitable business.
“I admonish youngsters to see agriculture as the bedrock for the development of our country. They must get engaged into farming in order to improve their lives,” he stated.
Dr. Zinnah further said that the attitude of Liberians toward agriculture is gradually changing as government and partners are working to help farmers make more profit from agriculture.
“The perception that agriculture is poor people’s profession in Liberia is changing over the years as more young people are now making agriculture a career,” said Minister Zinnah
The Minister acknowledged that government is aware of the challenges facing youth in the sector and so his ministry is making efforts to encourage more young people to see agriculture as an industry for employment and poverty reduction.
Meanwhile, 2,060 youths are earmarked from six counties to benefit from a three-year agriculture program that will advance their knowledge and skills in farming.
The program is implemented by 4-H Liberia in six counties (Bong, Lofa, Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Margibi) with support from the United States African Development Fund, the United States Department for Agriculture, the National 4-H Council and ACDI VOCA.
4-H Liberia is a youth focused agriculture non-governmental organization that supports school gardens in several institutions in Liberia to enhance youth participation in farming.