BRAC–Liberia conducted a one–day learning and experience sharing seminar for 50 farmers last Monday in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The exercise, which centered on increasing food security in rural Liberia through livestock production, processing and marketing, was supported by the European Union (EU) and facilitated by Grand Bassa County’s Agriculture Coordination Committee.
BRAC Program Manager for livestock, Jafar Eqbal said the project will help farmers contribute to the Millennium Development Goal One (MDG-1) through developing the livestock sector, which is essential to Liberia’s agriculture agenda.
“The project started in 2013 and will end this month, March, and we expect a 25 percent increase in livestock production and a 30 percent increase in the income of majority of our farmers,” Mr. Eqbal said.
He said among the interventions that the project is looking at is to build the capacity of rural farmers in poultry and livestock training, refreshers, service, market linkage and inputs.
Mr. Eqbal said the exercise is being done through meetings with small and large groups to ensure regular vaccination for animals and birds, and focusing on extension services in their communities.
“Some of the challenges the project has identified are access to farm inputs like seeds, fertilizers, tools as well as medicine and pesticide, vaccines, and high production cost,” he said.
He further mentioned poor market infrastructure and linkages, lack of transportation facilities and the need for the farmers to take ownership of the project.
Mr. Eqbal said lack of extension service at community level, low yields due to knowledge gap and lack of high productive stock, the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, farmers’ migration and access to capital are some of the additional challenges facing the farmers.
He noted that the diversification of animal rearing needs to be developed because livestock rearing is considered a crosscutting issue to farmers’ livelihood.
The Agriculture Coordinator of Grand Bassa County, Theresa Teah, thanked BRAC for undertaking initiatives to buttress government’s agriculture agenda in the livestock sector.