The Agriculture Relief Services (ARS) and the Rural Integrated Center For Community Empowerment (RICCE), both based in Nimba County, have hailed the outgoing biodiversity manager of ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) for her numerous contributions to protect the Nimba Eastern Nature Reserve around the Yekepa Concession.
Ms. Wing Yunn Crawley’s contract with ArcelorMittal has expired and she is being replaced by a Liberian, Samuel Peter.
Concerns about restraining farmers and hunters from exploiting the forest were among some of the factors that had been affecting the management of the forest, but the introduction of the conservation agriculture method has brought some relief to the protection of the forest, according to both organizations.
The three reserve forests around the Mount Nimba concession area are East Nimba, West Nimba and the Gbaa Community Forest.
The East Nimba Nature Reserves is one of Liberia’s nature reserves that extends into Ivory Coast and the Republic of Guinea, while the West Nimba and Gbaa Forests are community forests under the direct supervision or under the protection of the surrounding communities.
Liberia is home to over 40% of the Upper Guinea Ecosystem, where most of the world’s remaining endangered species are situated.
The ArcelorMittal Liberia Biodiversity team, under the leadership of Ms. Crawley, trained the two partners – ARS and RICCE – in new ways of farming known as “conservation agriculture.”
“With this training,” said Mr. Luogon Lah, the Executive Director of ARS, “we were able to train those living around the reserves; and today, this new farming method is gaining momentum and making impact in the lives of the farmers.”
Both local entities, which are partnering with ArcelorMittal Liberia to protect the reserve, praised Wing Yunn Crawley and AML for impacting ARS and RICCE, which has in turn changed the attitude of locals who live around the concession area.
“Wing ensured that everything for the enhancement of the project reached the farmers on time,” he added.
“The program she initiated has made lasting impact on the lives of the farmers,” said Salome G. Gofan, Executive Director of RICCE.
Ms Wing Crawley was described as a very passionate and innovative individual who always wanted things done to benefit the locals including farmers who live around the concession area.
The occasion, which was held at the ARS conference hall in Sanniquellie recently, brought together farming groups from around the concession.
Felecia Gono and Micheal Paye, representing several farming groups, also praised Ms. Crawley for her tireless efforts in making them self -sustaining through the conservation agriculture method.