World Bank Agriculture Program Should Consider Rural Farmers as Critical

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As the World Bank group infused substantial funds to Liberia’s agriculture sector in preparations for post-Ebola challenges, rural farmers should be the prime targets for financial, extension and technical assistance.

It may be recalled about a week ago, the World Bank group earmarked and approved staggering amount of US$15 million in order to effectively respond to the anticipated Ebola virus Disease challenges for the nation’s agriculture sectors of the affected countries.

Principally, the three Mano River Union countries include Guinea-Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia and among which Liberia was hardest hit by the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

Indeed, it is an open secret that rural farmers of all categories are critical, cardinal and solid back bones that could stimulate socio-economic growth and development of the country.

Many agriculture and other closely related institutions and food producing entities have hinted the Daily Observer that prior to the Liberian civil war, World Bank’s funded agriculture projects made significant impacts on the lives of ordinary Liberian farmers.

Some of the institutions and entities’ commentators early this week told the Daily Observer that extensive must be exerted and made in order to ensure that the rural farmers get chunk of the World Bank’s agriculture assistance.

The agriculture commentators also emphasized that to priority should be given the critical aspects that have to do with the sustained monitoring and evaluation of the World Bank impacts, accomplishments and achievements.

The World Bank agriculture sector should also ensure that rural farmers who are known and considered to be bed rocks of supplying all the urban markets with all critically needed food produce should be given preferential treatment in the assistance package.

Regrettably, for the past several decades, rural farmers of all categories had not received the kind of realistic and practical assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and other support partners in the country.

Majority of the huge funding in the nation’s agriculture sector has only been implemented to projects that have had tangible, realistic and practical results to farmers in many parts of the country.

As a way of seeing tangible and practical results in the post-Ebola agriculture assistance from the World Bank’s generous help, sustained extension services and technical assistance, of several phases must be given top priority by the Liberian Government.

In several and separate interviews with some urban farmers of Montserrado County last week, they also underscored the urgent need for first preference be given to the rural farmers owing to the fact that they formed majority of the food chain production.

The rural Montserrado’s farmers also stressed that the extension and technical assistance components cannot be over emphasized if the World Bank wants to see practical and socio-economic results of the post-Ebola agriculture assistance.

The farmers most of whom are back yard gardeners such as small rice growers, peanuts, cucumbers, eddoes and greens intimated that their contributions could trigger some serious socio-economic for the nation.

Brewerville’s cucumber grower Tommy B. Barclay, 44, said his small back yard garden could also trigger bigger financial growth and progress if the sustained extension services are provided by the resourceful people from the Ministry of Agriculture.

“I have been growing the different kinds of cucumbers for the past six years and being able to secure a one lot land to build my house two years from now,” farmer Barclay asserted.

Variety of greens producer Mary B. Snorton, 50, noted that producing greens is indeed profitable if she could receive the requisite extension services and technical assistance from the resourceful professionals from the Ministry of Agriculture and other partners.

“I have worked so hard over the years in the production of greens that I can boast that I owned two small houses in the township of Brewerville, outside Monrovia,” Madam Snorton averred.

“My brother I want to extend and expansion as demands from my clients are growing at fast speed beyond my capacity of production and as you may not my major customers are supermarkets,” Madam Snorton pleaded.

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