everal Liberian farmers have highlighted challenges they are facing in the agriculture sector and want them to be addressed by government to enhance productivity and contribute to the reduction of the importation of food in Liberia.
Interviews conducted with several women in Bong and Lofa counties revealed that some of the key challenges are lack of sustainable support, tools, sometimes climate change, and most of all access to farm to market, storage facilities, and processing machines.
“I’m Omega Flomo and produce vegetables. Agriculture is very important to our country right now especially with the growing population.
“We farmers are prepared to grow more food but our challenges need to be addressed by the government or non-governmental organizations to enable us to contribute to food security in the country.”
She said women’s involvement in agriculture is key because of their involvement in small farms and therefore called on the government to address their needs in rural communities.
She said she will live up to her promise as one of those who will contribute immensely to changing the status of the sector through her production.
“While I’m awaiting support, I will continue to grow more food on my 10 acres of farm land to strengthen our food production,” she said.
Roseline Kerkula of Lofa County said the growth of the country’s agriculture sector is very important to food security and women are major contributors to make it a success.
“Food security is a big issue in our country. If we work together and get the different types of empowerment like financial support, materials and other support, we will boost food security and make more money,” she said.
Madam Kerkula stated that farmers in Lofa are trying their best to grow more food but lack of processing machines, are responsible for their losses.
She said she farms on 4 hectares which her late husband left with her. She said she has transformed the farm to a productive enterprise due to the call of the government to get back to the soil.
“We can grow and eat our local food, but my major challenge here is a processing machine that will add value to my rice, because if it is well processed I can gain huge benefits and it will reduce the importation of rice to the country.
“Women are faced with challenges especially brushing the farms, preparing the farms for growing, walking long distances. This is frustrating to carry out these hard tasks and don’t gain any benefit, so I am asking all of our partners, especially the Ministry of Agriculture to help by assisting us and settle our challenges for future improvement in one of the best sectors that grows the economy,” she said.
Speaking to the head of women caucus and the Senior Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor (Bong County) she lauded the efforts of women to produce food for the country.
She called on donor partners to see it expedient to help in finding solutions to the many challenges women farmers are facing on a daily basis for sustainable growth in the sector.