The Executive Director of Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), Robert Bimba, has said that the ongoing Japanese Rice Grant Project is making tremendous progress in Lofa, Bassa, Bomi, Cape Mount and Montserrado counties.
“The US$ 2 million rice grant provided to Liberia by the Japanese Government to help achieve economic recovery of Liberian rice farmers in Ebola- affected counties will enable farmers to work smart to improve annual yield,” Bimba disclosed.
He said on Wednesday in Paynesville during an interview that the eighteen month project awarded CHAP in December 2016 has so far helped farmers in the targeted counties understand the importance of labor saving devices, and the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in rice production.
SRI is an improved technology that increases rice yield that is being widely practiced in the West African region.
He explained that his institution is working with 1,800 rice farmers in the five counties with skills in SRI practice and have upgraded the capacity of six rice processing facilities. These facilities process two to three metric tons of rice daily.
“The processing centers were processing half ton and one metric ton before, but now their capacities have been improved to produce two to three metric tons of rice daily,” said Bimba
Mr. Bimba, however, stated that the timely delivery of inputs to farmers and the adaptation of the improved technology remains a challenge.
He wants improvement in the government procurement process to enable his organization to deliver inputs to farmers in time.
“Our major challenges along our progress have been the procuring of equipment and helping farmers understand the advantages of the use of modern technology. We are designing radio programs in our target groups’ languages to help them understand the importance of some of the technologies in modern farming methods,” Bimba said.
He meanwhile thanked the Government of Japan and the Government of Liberia for helping farmers to recover from the Ebola crisis.