The Farmer Union Network of Liberia (FUN), with support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) through the Italian government, has commissioned 17 extension officers(agriculture workers) to four counties of Liberia to work with local farmers.
The counties are Grand Bassa, Montserrado, Cape Mount and Bomi.
The commissioning ceremony was held on November 12 in Kingsville, rural Montserrado County after completing a five- day training workshop.
FUN is a national farmer organization that serves as the voice of farmers across the country.
Giving an overview of the program on Tuesday, November 12, the program officer of FUN, Alphanso Perkins, said that the program is intended for 2 years and is meant to increase the knowledge of local farmers on improve farming methods.
“The extension workers will work in helping the farmers to learnt the new idea of growing their crops to improve their productive capacities,” he said.
According to Mr. Perkins, the lacked of skills of many Liberian farmers has caused them to remain in abject poverty.
“If our farmers are going to improve in farming, they must learn how to plant their crops in the best way. The old method of farming, which is the traditional or subsistence method, will not help the farmers,” he stated.
Also speaking, president of FUN, Josephine Francis, said that her institution is working with the government and partners to ensure that the country becomes food secure.
“We have initiated such program so that in the next few years, rice, which is the country’s staple food importation can reduce to at least 40%.
She underscored the need for increase extension services for the many farmers in the country to be reached.
Meanwhile, Madam Francis, who also Montserrado County Representative and Chairperson on the Houses’ Committee on Agriculture, used the occasion to called on all Liberians to go back to the soil and produce more food.
“It is only by doing so the country will become food secure,” the Montserrado County lawmaker stated.
For his part, the Agronomist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Abu Konneh stressed the need for a network of extension workers in the country.
He called on the extension workers to collaborate as they carried out their duties in the assigned counties.