The United States Agency for International Development and Food and Enterprise Development (USAID-FED) in collaboration with the Government of Liberia yesterday inaugurated a multipurpose soil science laboratory at Grand Bassa Community College in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Anthony Chan, USAID Mission Director, said the inauguration of the GBCC soil science laboratory is part of the United States Government Feed the Future Program which is aimed at supporting agriculture in the country.
He asserted that FED has pursued three inter-related goals as it works to help improve the Liberian agricultural sector and has focused on helping rice and cassava farmers increase their yields and profitability.
“It has also worked with Liberian entrepreneurs, particularly youth and women, to stimulate the growth of agricultural-related enterprises. FED has partnered with various government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Education, to help develop
Liberia’s agricultural workforce capacity,” he stated.
The GBCC Science Laboratory is part of the National Diplomat in Agriculture (NDA), a 2-year market driven agricultural program, intended to prepare high school graduates for employment opportunities in Liberia’s agriculture sector.
“The NDA program has been established in the four community colleges in Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa and BWI,” he said in his remarks.
The USAID Mission Director said his government through the FED program is working to develop Liberia’s agriculture sector through several agricultural programs in the country.
Mr. Chan encouraged the students and instructors to take advantage of the enriched learning and teaching opportunities provided by the Centers.
“We look forward to seeing many successful entrepreneurs emerge from these Centers,” he urged.
Agriculture Minister Dr.Moses Zinnah lauded the efforts of USAID-FED through its support to the country’s agricultural sector by empowering local farmers in the counties to promote agriculture in four value chains.
He emphasized that without science laboratories it is very difficult for students to have vivid knowledge on agriculture.
He pledged to work with partners who are in the country to provide maximum support to the sector to make sure that the country gets on the path to food security.
He mentioned active engagement with local farmers in the various counties, working with the caucus engaging private sector involvement among others as his first steps to ensuring a vibrant agricultural sector.
“Agriculture is in demand of skilled men and women in the country. In order to promote agriculture we will work with our farmers in the counties that are involved with farming activities to provide more training and empowerment to grow more food that will help improve food security,” he said.
USAID-FED’s Chief of Party, Mrs. Agnes Luz, described the science lab as a multipurpose facility inaugurated to empower farmers through testing their soil before planting their crops.
Mrs.Luz said promoting agriculture is the goal of USAID-FED and promised to continue working with farmers in the country to boost production in the four value chains including vegetables, cassava, rice and goats.
“With this soil science lab, GBCC agriculture students will practically learn the testing of soil, animal and plant samples,” Madam Luz assured.
Madam Luz meanwhile clarified that the lab is not only for GBCC agriculture students but will also be used by farmers in the community to test and know the best soil that would yield the desired produce.
The GBCC Soil Science Lab is the second that USAID FED is supporting to improve food sufficiency in Liberia since millions of dollars are spent on the importation of food, especially rice, Liberia’s staple food.