A group of 26 smallholder farmers selected from 23 communities in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland counties have completed five days of intensive training in improved vegetable and lowland cultivation, cassava processing and beekeeping, according to the National Consultant and Project Manager of the FAO, Albert Kpassawah.
The training recently held in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).
“The purpose of the ‘Farmers’ Field School’ (or onsite training) is to build the capacity of lead farmers who shall return to their various communities and train others in improved farming methods in the selected areas of production,” Kpassawah said.
He explained that the ‘Farmers’ Field School’ has no walls or windows, but training takes place in the field where the farmers are taught new technologies hands on to improve their crops.
Fertilizer application and water management in lowland cultivation are major challenges facing subsistence farmers, said Kpassawah, and hands on training will greatly enhance the farmers’ knowledge in these areas.
“The trainer of trainers workshop (TOT) will greatly help the farmers to come together as a group to share ideas that will improve their productivity,” he noted, adding that there is a need for Liberian farmers to learn to work as a group to improve productivity.
“One person cannot do much when it comes to farming; it needs collective effort. This is why we are encouraging farmers to utilize skills as a group to improve farming activities in their communities,” he emphasized.
Kpassawah disclosed that his organization is working with approximately 15,000 farmers in 23 communities in the four counties, encouraging them to work as groups with support from the Cooperative Development Agency.
“We are hoping that this project will greatly enhance the skills of the targeted farmers in those counties as we move forward to a non-cost extension,” he concluded.