Agriculture accounts for 67 percent of the workforce of Liberia and it is the main source of income for rural inhabitants, the majority of whom lack well-functioning extension delivery services to improve their lives.
To ensure that rural farming communities in Liberia access the holistic approach of extension delivery service, a U.S. government global ‘Feed the Future’ food security programs, has partnered with several institutions in Liberia to integrate gender and nutrition within the country’s agricultural extension system.
The program INGENAES, in order to reduce poverty and improve food security, conducted a 3-day workshop which was convened in Gbarnga, Bong County, from June 19-21.
INGENAES is designed to help partners in ‘Feed the Future’ countries build more robust gender responsive and nutrition sensitive institutions, projects and programs capable of assessing and responding to the needs of both men and women farmers through extension and advisory services.
More than 30 individuals chosen from Bong, Nimba, Montserrado, Maryland, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Margibi counties from diverse institutional backgrounds participated in the training.
The workshop was sponsored by the University of Illinois/USAID in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County.
The deputy minister for Regional Development Research and Extension at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Thomas Gbokie, told this paper during the workshop that the training was a joint effort of the MOA and Cuttington University in partnership with INGENAES to integrate gender and nutrition into Liberia’s agricultural extension delivery service.
“This is meant to increase the agriculture productivity and income of both men and women in rural communities that depend solely on agriculture for their livelihood. It is expected that the trainees will move into their various communities to create awareness on the knowledge acquired,” he said.
Minister Gbokie said that the MOA and Cuttington were pleased with the partnership and they are hopeful that the initiative will improve the lives of rural people.
Caroline Nyaplue Daywhea, acting coordinator of INGENAES in Liberia, stated that the key aspect of the training is for the participants to form a network and demonstrate the knowledge learned in their communities.
“Within the next three months, we shall follow up on the activities of the trainees to ensure that the knowledge acquired is shared with the communities,” she said, adding that they anticipate holding further training in the future.
The participants thanked INGENAES for facilitating the workshop and committed to demonstrating the knowledge acquired in their various communities.