Nearly 500 goat producers from 25 communities in Bong County are using improved animal husbandry to raise their goats. These goat farmers are receiving support from the USAID Food and Enterprise Development (USAID FED) program for Liberia.
USAID FED has trained 54 Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW), who are mainly females. Recently, USAID FED constructed 33 shelters out of 75 goats shelters targeted for construction in Bong County.
Liberian farmers are accustomed to the traditional ways of raising goats where the animals are largely left unattended. The aim of the program is to increase the production of goats and make animal farming a more profitable business for Liberian farmers. USAID FED’s interventions will greatly enhance the production of livestock in Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Nimba Counties, where the program is being implemented.
Morris Karnuah, USAID FED’s Livestock Officer, said that goat farmers are receptive to the improved ways of raising their animals. “We observed that farmers are happy about the new techniques to raise and care for animals in their communities. [Farmers] provided some of the resources needed to construct …the shelters.”
He said that three shelters are constructed in each of the communities. These structures include a kidding house, quarantine shelter and shelter for marketable goats.
Karnuah also noted that linking farmers with goat buyers is critical for goat farming. According to him, farmers have to learn to treat raising goats as a business that provides sustainable income increases.
“Most traders leave the country to trade for goats in Guinea and Ivory Coast because of [the] lack of sufficient supply of goats in Liberia. With USAID FED’s interventions, [the] mortality rates of kid goats have reduced, giving farmers more goats to sell. Due to the constraint in marketing goats, we have begun to hold series of consultative meetings with both traders and farmers to create the linkage and help [to] build the relationship,” Karnuah stated.
Several goat farmers in Bong County expressed very positive feedbacks about the support received from USAID FED when speaking to the Observer Farmer Desk recently on the various farms in their communities.
Johnson Douhokpeneh, the head for the Menilele (translates to mean “good things” in the Kpelle dialect) Goat Farmer Association in Gbarnga Siequelleh, Bong County, said that USAID FED’s support is helping to improve their living conditions. He stated that initially, goat farmers had 229 goats but the intervention’s USAID FED had increased their goat population to 273 goats.
“We are impressed [by] the new ways we have been taught to raise our goats for marketing. This method has reduced kid mortality,” he said happily.
CAHW Esther Miller said she is pleased to provide veterinary services because she can see that, in addition to helping the animals, she also helps the families who own the animals.
USAID FED currently supports 2,060 goat farmers in Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Bassa counties.
The USAID FED Program for Liberia aims to reduce hunger and promote food security for Liberians through increased agricultural productivity and profitability in rice, cassava, vegetable and goat value chains. It is implemented in six counties: Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado.
The United States – as the largest donor and closest ally – is supporting the Liberian priorities to build sustainable local capacity, make a difference in people’s lives, and move towards a shared vision of self-sufficiency and prosperity. For more information please visit. www.usaid.gov. USAID FED is Africa’s largest project under President Barack Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative, which promotes a move away from subsistence and increasing food security by working with public and private bodies, including the Government of Liberia, the private sector, local NGOs and other key stakeholders.