Farmers from the four counties operating under the USAID FED have appealed for a 5-year extension to enable the country to reach higher levels in food production.
The appeal comes as USAID FED’s US$75 million agricultural projects are ending.
The farmers are from Lofa, Bong, Grand Bassa, and Margibi counties who are engaged in various food value chains, such as cassava, rice, goats and vegetables.
During a program marking the knowledge sharing and handover of extension materials and an honoring ceremony held at the Paynesville City Hall in Monrovia recently, the head of Zileh Farmers Association, John Selma, speaking on behalf of other , and appealed for the extension of USAID FED.
Selma said the extension will further strengthen the capacity of farmers enabling them to operate independently following the expiration of USAID FED program.
“We want USAID FED to continue the program to allow us to stand on our own,” he said.
Selma noted that breaking the barriers of food security in Liberia requires the participation of all well-meaning citizens.
“If we can have 50 or more John Selmas in the country, we can say with optimism that the sector is prepared to stand on its own,” Selma said.
Giving other reasons why the program should be extended Selma explained that “USAID FED has helped the government of Liberia by establishing the centers of excellence at four community colleges including the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, where it has also set up a modern science laboratory in support of Liberia’s first National Diploma program in Agriculture.”
Additionally, District #3 Grand Gedeh County Representative and Acting Chairman on the House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Chersia Grant, said the project must be taken to the southeastern part of Liberia to have other farmers get more experience in agriculture.
“USAID FED, please rethink and bring back the program because without food sufficiency the country will face serious problems,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry, Andrew Paygar, called for collaborative efforts to improve farming.
He said there is a need for a paradigm shift so that the private sector can make sure to create more employment.
“It’s important for us to work together for the betterment of our country and I will continue working with this organization and farmers for a better yield in this sector,” he stated.