A newly launched local foundation is providing alternate crops to help sustain farmers until main cash-crops mature
A local humanitarian-oriented foundation is assisting vulnerable cash-crops farmers in Nimba County Electoral District #9 to thrive in difficult economic times.
The Nehwon Macpherson David Foundation (NMDF) is encouraging farmers to grow vegetables as an alternative income source, while they attend to their slow-maturing cash-crops.
According to NMDF’s visionary and chief executive officer, N. Macpherson David, the entity has been established to meet the needs of such a group of people. NMDF’s work went into full swing after Mr. David, along with other professional friends, made several trips to remote environs across the country.
“Places we visited, we found that most of the ordinary people have a drive for agricultural development. These tours across the country exposed us to different people from segments of our society. Interestingly, the needs that we identified inspired my drive to do something purely humanitarian,” says David.
NMDF is investing in demonstration farms for the development of new farming techniques that are applicable to farming communities in Nimba County, which is 329.4 kilometers from Monrovia.
In the Kwedin Township, which is in the lower part of the county, one of the targeted areas under the NMDF operational scope, life for farmers is becoming more revived, amid worry over slow-maturing cash-crops, including cocoa, coffee and rubber.
Farmers in the township, who are mostly into cash-crops’ production, are growing vegetables that have a fast-maturing rate than cocoa, coffee and oil palm. The intervention from NMDF aims to afford farmers an alternative income source for their up-keep.
“Even though we have improved varieties of cocoa and oil palm, it requires time for them to grow and produce,” says David. “This has been a worrisome issue for farmers, who grow these cash-crops. For how do they raise money while waiting for a cocoa farm to mature?
“The answer,” David told the Daily Observer, “is to grow something that you will harvest two to three times before cocoa starts to produce in a year’s time. What you harvest and sell ultimately brings you cash.”
Also, in Bong County, NMDF is providing technical support to vegetable and cash crops farmers through the networking of Bong-based organizations.
“The purpose of growing vegetables as an alternative to cash crops in these areas, as well as providing training opportunities and technical support to rural farmers, is to provide the appropriate skill set needed to make a broader contribution to food security and their livelihoods,” David said.
To date, NMDF has acquired 350 acres for vegetable cultivation in Nimba County. Mr. David said portions of the 350 acres will be allotted to youth for cultivation purposes as part of development programs.
The NMDF has been established to assist people of extreme vulnerability in the areas of health, education, business and agriculture in the country.
Also, NMDF carries on advocacy and mentorship programs as well as disaster interventions that rally aid for disaster victims in order to promote recovery and resilience.