Participants at a symposium marking the observance of the 59th Armed Forces Day celebration held under the Theme: ‘Operation Other Than War in Post UNMIL Transition’ held at the Monrovia City Hall, have called on the Ministry of National Defense to engage in agriculture to feed the nation.
Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo, who served as one of the panelists, said the Ministry of National Defense (MND) must see agriculture as part of its responsibility to the nation.
Sen. Zargo believes that if the army is fully equipped with agricultural materials they would be able to break through the bushes in the country’s 15 counties to grow food, which would benefit citizens and the country at large.
Sen. Zargo stressed that while all of the physical attributes of post UNMIL Liberia may be present and highly visible, it is imperative that everyone seeks a disciplined, trained and educated military.
The illiteracy of the army in the past, he said, left much to be desired of an institution designed to protect the nation and preserve peace and unity.
“Through training that could be provided by an Army College in the field of agriculture or the establishment of an Agriculture Battalion will help to grow the army’s own food, raise cattle and expand its facilities to serve communities throughout the country,” he suggested.
Several participants at the symposium agreed that the army become involved in food production that can be used to help in disaster relief.
The Regional Advisor to the West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative, Madam Faith Akovi Cooper, also stressed the importance of agriculture in disaster relief.
The Regional Advisor told participants at the symposium, including an array of government officials, UN SRSG, partners, representatives from all parts of the security sectors that food security is essential to the development of the army and the country.
Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police recently harvested a 75 acre rice farming project in Kpang Banin Town, Foya, Lofa County.
According to the LNP it was based on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s instruction for all Liberians to go back to the soil that led the LNP to engage in agriculture to ensure institutional self-sufficiency in food.
The 75 acre produce is being used to feed police recruits at the National Police Training Academy, the police elite forces – the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and the Police Support Unit (PSU).