Africa Rice, a non-governmental organization in Liberia’s rice value chain in partnership with Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization Project (SAPEC) has completed a three-day intensive training on rice processing and parboiling for more than 30 local commercial rice farmers from 12 of the 15 counties.
The counties include: Sinoe, Margibi, Bong, Maryland, River Cess, River Gee, Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, and Grand Kru.
According to Africa Rice Country Representative, Dr. Inoussa Akintayo, who spoke yesterday at the climax of the three-day training in Kakata, Margibi County said the training was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture to build the skills of local farmers and fabricators in processing and parboiling of rice of the same variety.
He said that it is such varieties of rice that are being hugely exported to Liberia from other countries, adding that once farmers are trained in parboiling it will help reduce rice importation.
According to him, the country will be food secure when local farmers get fully involved in competitive processing.
“The issue of rice processing and other agricultural equipment have been the concern of farmers in the country, which prompted Africa Rice and partners to provide training for farmers in the 12 counties,” he said.
Dr. Akintayo stressed that Liberians can produce their own food to meet domestic demand and up to the international market, provided that more processors are trained with standard skills and supported with mechanized equipment.
Also speaking, Margibi Agriculture Coordinator (CAC) Musu Tuah Younn urged participants to use the knowledge acquired from the three-day training to transform the sector.
“It is time to wake up and work harder to improve the lives of your farmers and help to make the country food secure,” she said. Processors should not depend on farmers for supplies, but should also produce their own food, she urged the trainees.
Tito Teh Manneh of Rivercess County thanked Africa Rice and partners on behalf of his colleagues for educating farmers. He recommended that Africa Rice should ensure more rice mills and other equipment in farming communities in the various counties.
SAPEC agriculture coordinator William Kawalawu described the training as the gateway to a competitive world market in agriculture.
He said the system of parboiling rice and having it processed well has been a challenge to the agriculture sector.
He promised to work with the MOA and Africa Rice to work to improve rice processing in the country and create a demand for locally produced rice.