Executive Director Joe Massaquoi Craves for Funds, Mobility
The Rural Initiative for Sustainable Empowerment Program (RISEP) swamp rice and vegetable production in operation at Foya Dundu Town in Lofa County is making progress.
RISEP Executive Director Joseph Massaquoi made the disclosure recently at the project site in Foya District in an interview with the Daily Observer.
To date, director Massaquoi intimated that a 10 plot of swamp area has been technically prepared by 25 men and youth in Foya Dundu and has produced seven double bags of seed rice for the next planting season.
Director Massaquoi pointed out that the group is also comprised of 15 women and 25 men who were recruited as members for a period of two years by RISEP with the aim of promoting the production of vegetables and swamp rice.
“We started the swamp rice and vegetable production program after our participation in the advocacy and protection of Ebola survivors of the Makona River Ebola Program in Foya District,” said Director Massaquoi.
He also disclosed that RISEP has turned its initiative to lowland farming and vegetable production owing to the fact that agribusiness is the best alternative that could reduce hunger and poverty as a result of the current food crisis in Liberia.
In a bid to enhance the agribusiness project, Director Massaquoi has sounded an urgent appeal for a little over US$45,000 intended to expand the swamp rice and vegetable production in other communities that have expressed the desire to join RISEP.
In an encounter with some of the swamp rice and vegetable farmers in Foya Dundu last week, they appealed for farming implements such as hoes, shovels, wheelbarrows and boots.
Madam Finda Fayia, 45, said, at the moment, RISEP swamp rice project has harvested and processed seven bags of seed rice for the next planting season at Foya Dundu Town.
Madam Fayia added that at the stage of the RISEP program, Director Massaquoi provided all funds for the feeding and medication of workers.
Another swamp rice farmer, Sia Moses, 38, said, director Massaquoi has always admonished them to continue the swamp rice project as there are better days ahead for support and assistance.
As a result, the group has held its hands together and has worked so hard and was able to produce seven double bags of seed rice for the next planting season, she added.
“I must admit that swamp rice and vegetable production offer the best earnings than the highland farming in agribusiness,” Madam Moses revealed.
She also underscored the need for all donor institutions to help them with farming tools such as power tillers, shovels, hoes, rain coat and boots.
Madam Moses also stressed the need for the provision of small micro grants that will help to buttress their efforts in the swamp rice and vegetable production in the RISEP program.
William Kilibay, 35, Chairperson of the Foya Dundu Youth Group noted that in order for the swamp rice and vegetable production project to succeed, the rehabilitation of the various old dams must be considered as critical to the agriculture initiative.
James Cooper, 25, called on fellow Liberians especially those riding motorbikes for commercial purposes to join them in the agribusiness initiative.
For his part, Saah Joseph, 22, said, food production especially swamp rice and vegetable could help beat back the huge importation of the country’s staple food.
“I want all Liberians to see reason and consider the option of returning to the soil as the soil is the best bank to invest in and that will make Liberia self-sufficient in agriculture,” Joseph urged.