The chief executive officer of SAMJAC Agro Industry, Sam Mentee, has appealed to the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including local and international partners to help provide long-term projects for farmers across the country.
Mr. Mentee made the appeal recently in Monrovia, noting that the provision of long-term projects for farmers remains important in improving production of cassava and vegetables as well as building farmers’ capacities.
“We need those long-term projects from all of our local and international partners to help farmers, because some of the crops we planted including cassava take almost a year to yield,” he said.
He added that empowering farmers will enable them to reap huge benefits.
Mr. Mentee disclosed that farmers need additional equipment that will help them process their cassava and add value to their produce.
He identified the lack of processing machines, improved roads and markets as some of the obstacles that are creating problems for farmers across the country.
He said though there are tons of challenges facing the farmers, there is still the need for them to move from their old style of subsistence farming to the most modern farming methods. He highlighted marketing and improved feeder roads as the main challenges facing farmers in the country.
“There are about 10 varieties of cassavas that are being evaluated and showcased in Margibi County. This is a process though which farmers from over six communities are expected to improve their produce,” he said.
He said farmers are doing their best to improve their output, but the lack of essential farming tools and equipment to work effectively was hampering their efforts.
He also noted that women farmers are facing a lot of challenges, ranging from transportation and the lack of buyers and noted that if women farmers are supported with all the necessary farming equipment, they will be able to supply the country with food.
He explained that his institution recently embarked on its cassava yield and tastiness evaluation in Jackville, Margibi County to showcase its products produced from the most modern farming methods.
Mr. Mentee called on farmers to take ownership of what they are doing and should be prepared to take the lead in food development in the country.
Mr. Mentee said he has observed for several years that projects established for farmers are not long term but operate for only one or two years.