Brac-Liberia, a Bangladeshi agro-based organization operating in Liberia, recently ended a one day inception workshop aimed at sensitizing Liberians on the need to address food and nutrition security challenges in the country.
Currently, Brac has received a 1.5 million-euro project geared towards addressing food and nutrition security to help end hunger in Liberia. The project, which is expected to commence early next year, will be implemented in six counties, including Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, Margibi and Bong Counties.
To launch the two year project, Brac has embarked on a workshop that seeks to sensitize farmers and stakeholders in the country’s agriculture sector on food and nutrition security in the six selected counties.
Speaking last Monday at the first workshop in Bentol, Montserrado County, Brac-Liberia Senior Manager Emmanur Shikder said the project will focus on supporting poor farmers who are facing difficulties.
He said farmers will be empowered with basic agricultural tools to enhance crop and animal production in order to improve food and nutrition security.
“Our project’s mission is to support the poor in food production and nutrition insecurity to react to crises and strengthen resilience in Liberia,’’ Mr. Shikder said. “This project will strive to improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by developing resilient agriculture, resilient markets and resilient people who are able to generate diverse livelihoods that provide stable incomes and adequate food and nutrition in the face of recurrent stresses and shocks.”
For his part, A. K. M. Rafiqul Islam, Brac-Liberia Agriculture Manager, said the project will target 7,501 farming households across the six counties.
He said Brac-Liberia will also consult with 50 senior government officials and 90 market actors to form part of the project’s activities.
“Before this project ends in 2018, 390 most vulnerable household groups will be engaged in cash for work, 1,625 poor households will receive training on poultry and livestock rearing, and the capacity of 5,200 smallholder farmers will be built on climate smart agriculture technologies,’’ Mr. Islam said.
He further said 26 agricultural entrepreneurs will be developed, while 2,340 pregnant and lactating women from those households will be trained on improved nutrition.
For his part, the Agriculture Coordinator at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Edward S. Fatorma, said the rearing of goats, sheep, cows, pigs, among other domestic animals, is a key component that farmers need not neglect. He noted that the constant importation of livestock into the country is not a healthy practice for the farming sector.
“Share your knowledge with someone and help each other as you try to produce more food and other agricultural products for either commercial or subsistence purpose,’’ he said, adding that Liberians need to be more innovative in the farming sector.
Also speaking, Thompson N. W. Chea, the agriculture coordinator at the Bong County Superintendent’s office, said Brac’s initiatives boost Liberia’s stride to eliminate hunger through productive and sustainable agro-based activities.
“The Superintendent’s office, in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, has already called on all districts in Bong to cultivate not less than 100 acres for each of their agricultural products,’’ Mr. Chea said.
He commended Brac-Liberia for its contribution to the nation’s freedom from food poverty and the enhancement of a viable economic sector.
The Bentol workshop brought together farmers, government officials and small business owners.