Liberian agriculture is based mainly on subsistence farming – mainly focused on producing enough to feed the family. Besides rubber and other cash crops, including cocoa and coffee, Liberia currently imports all of its edibles, especially its staple food, rice.
Ms. Rader, in her opening statement at the recently held Agriculture Show organized by the Suakoko-based Cuttington University, indicated that, “Agriculture in Liberia needs to become an effective and real source of income, not just a source of food.”
Therefore, she said, “Liberians need to understand that agriculture can become a business like many other businesses.”
USAID supports the Liberian government and others in the country’s agriculture sector. Liberia is one of the 20 countries in the world that benefit from the Feed the Future program launched by U.S. President Barack Obama to tackle food security around the world.
Ms. Rader, who studied rice cultivation in graduate school, stressed that commercial agriculture needs to be highly prioritized to ensure food security and reduce poverty.
She acknowledged that, “USAID’s new Food and Enterprise Development Program for Liberia will take the lead on implementing the Feed the Future commitment to Liberia; which focuses on supporting the development of local agric-business capacity and incentivizing agricultural stakeholders to adopt commercial approaches.”
The Cuttington Agriculture Show was part of the school’s curricular activities which aimed to bring farmers together to exhibit their farm products and solicit assistance from partners to enhance the Agriculture College at the University.
Dr. Joshua D.B. Giddings of the University spoke with the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview. He said the Agriculture program at the University is on course with students streaming in every semester. He said students were also interested in becoming actively involved with the practical aspects agricultural production.
For her part, the Manager for Intersect Oral Coordination at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scholastica Doe, lauded Cuttington for the show and expressed her institution’s support for the University’s agriculture program.
Two farmers were identified as lead farmers of the year.
Osakpa Sumo, Jr., the first place winner, was given tools including palm processing mills, two cans of insecticide spray, and a medal. Mrs. Nyama Dolo Tokpah, second place winner, also received two cans of insecticide spray and a medal.