A Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) 8,000 US$ grant to the Universal Farmer Association (UFA), has enabled the group to set up a cassava processing mill in Gbartala, Bong County.
The mill was Saturday, June 20, dedicated by the LBDI president.
The Association, established since 2012 now has their first mill, which is capable of produce at least 50 bags of “fine gari/farina” a day, according to the UFA’s board chair, Rev. Dr. Robert Gbobeh Myers.
Rev. Myers stated that the machine could produce more bags of gari if they have more “pressors” and “patchers.” The patchers are used to dry the gari into tiny fragments after the cassava has been granulated and the pressor has drained the water out of it.
Rev. Myers, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer Farmer Desk yesterday, June 24, said that his association now has at least 15,000 farmers in three counties — Bong, Margibi and Grand Bassa.
He was full of praise for the LBDI president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. John B. S. Davies, III. He described the bank’s president as “a pioneer, who see far beyond little thing to see the bigger picture for tomorrow.”
He added: “To be honest, John Davies has been a very big help to us. He has helped opened our eyes to other financial avenues and has always given us good pieces of advice.”
For his definition of “pioneers” after listing three categories of people, including “professionals” and “performers,” Rev. Dr. Myers stated: “Those with the pioneering spirit, like Mr. Davies, are those who will see something that the naked eyes can’t see. Once you have an idea, they will see how it can be workable. Such people will come around and give a hand and they will stay with you. They are not just motivated by what they see on paper. They will help you to take your ideas to a higher level.”
Speaking to the Observer, Mr. Davies stated that that bank’s vision of giving the small grant is because of the impact it makes on the lives of many people.
In the case of the cassava mill in Gbartala, at least 1500 farmers in that part of Bong County are going to benefit immensely and their cassava tubers won’t go to waste.
The Observer was told that at the dedication program, Bong Senator Jewel Howard Taylor volunteered her services as “ways and means” for UFA. She promised to join UFA members so they can procure a mini truck that would be used to transport cassava from various farms to the mill.