Target 500 Paynesville women and youth as beneficiaries
Fabrar-Liberia, the country’s largest rice processing company based in Kakata, Margibi County has partnered with the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) to convert 20 hectares of swamp land into a rice production site.
Jeannine Cooper, senior partner and founder of Fabrar-Liberia, recently told the Daily Observer that the project is expected to benefit nearly 500 women and youth in Paynesville. She said the six months pilot project that aims at creating employment opportunities for an initial 100 women and youth, is funded by the United Nations in Liberia.
“The mayor of Paynesville has been eager to engage in urban agriculture to create jobs for many of her residents, mainly the youth. There is a lot of land suitable for agricultural use in Paynesville which when cultivated can produce more food for the city. We are hopeful that our partnership with the PCC will help improve the lives of the people,” said Cooper.
According to her, Fabrar will provide inputs such as seeds and fertilizers to encourage the beneficiaries to grow the rice. The project will seek to train beneficiaries in improved methods and skills in rice production, Cooper said. “We will ensure that the rice grown by the beneficiaries is purchased by our company to empower them,” she added.
“We intend to attract close to 500 beneficiaries depending on the success of the pilot project,” she stated.
Cooper stated there is a need for the government to make farming more attractive to the youth by promoting mechanized farming. “When more youth access the use of power tillers and other modern equipment, they will remain in agriculture,” she assured.
The project technician, Sam G. Mentee, told this paper that the project has commenced with land preparation underway using herbicides to destroy the weeds in the designated area.
He said in the next few weeks, they expect to complete the layout of the swamp to commence the transplanting of rice seedlings.
According to Mentee, some of the young people have already expressed interest in the project. “It’s difficult to find in the urban areas many persons interested in agriculture, but there are some youth who have welcomed the offer,” he said.
However, encroachment is a challenge that needs to be addressed by the Paynesville city authority, said Mentee. “Some residents of this area have seriously encroached on some portion of the land and so we are working with the PCC to look into the situation,” he said.
A beneficiary of the project, Joshua S. George, described it as significant in helping interested youth to obtain employment.
“We highly welcome this project as it will help us grow more food to support our families. It is important that we as young people get involved in agriculture,” he stated.