Over 100 farmers at Chinese Farm, Mount Barclay, Montserrado County have prioritized the production of Pepper to earn more money during this farming season.
In an interviews, with the Daily Observer on their seperate farms recently, the farmers disclosed that producing pepper during such a this time of the year yield more profits.
The farmers have also grown small amounts of lettuce, watermelon, and cucumber.
Pepper is a fruit (though considered to be a vegetable in culinary/cooking terms) that is grown by most Liberian farmers.
It is cooked by many households in Liberia in various dishes.
From December through April, this fruit is in high demand on the Liberian market as very few farmers are found engaged in its the production.
A 50kg bag of pepper is sometime sold at LD$ 10,000 in Monrovia.
Though normally a long duration crop, when cultivated in the lowlands it lasts for a short period of time. It can be harvested after every 3 weeks.
However, while it is noted that most Liberians love cooking this fruit in many of their meals, the crop lacks nutritional value. It is usually used for spice and seasoning.
Mr. Jimmy Gborvehtai is the chairman of the Mawah Farmers Association(meaning in kpelle clean) in Chinese Farm, Mount-Barclay. He told our farmer reporter, that they have prioritized the production of pepper because the crop is in demand from December-April.
“We prefered to grow more pepper on our farms this farming season, because we expect to get more buyers with an attractive price. A bag of pepper, mainly the 50kg size, is now sold for around LD$ 10,000 or more,” he disclosed.
He said he has cultivated about 3 acres with more of the crop.
According to Mr. Gborvehtai the soil in Mount- Barclay is ideal for growing pepper.
He explained that through farming, he has acquired properties and supported his children in schools.
“Agriculture pays a lot, contrary to what some may think . It is through farming that I made enough money to buy my land and now I am constructing a house. Though it involves plenty of hard work, it keeps me self employed,” he explained.
He stated that he intends to expand the farm but lack the funding.
“Many of we farmers in Chinese Farm want a loan from government to improve our production. We are qualified for such assistance, but have not been fortunate to get it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Mawah farmers’ group chairman used the occasion to educate other local farmers.
“I want my fellow farmers in the country to see agriculture as a business and work hard to grow more food. They should always learn to keep records of their finances, so that at the end of the of the farming season, they
can know their annual income,” he elucidated.For his part, Alexander Moannah disclosed that they decided to prioritize pepper not only for more profit, but also because the crop is disease resistant.
“Pepper production does not require the use of more insecticide to control pests or diseases. All that we do as farmers is to apply more NPK fertilizers when we need to boost growth,” he stated.
Mr. Moanah, a father of 6 children, disclosed that he once earned his living as a security worker.
I decided to come a farmer, during the civil crisis considering the vibrancy of the Agricultural sector. Through it I have bought land and am about to build house,” he said.
Mr. Moanah has called on Liberians to go back to the soil as a way of empowering themselves.
The agriculture project of the farmers in Chinese farm is being supported through the United States Agencies for International Development/ Food and Enterprise Development Program (USAID/FED). An Urban and Peri-urban project aimed at improving farmers’ productivityin the country. USAID/FED provided tools, seeds, insecticides and fertilizers to increase the crop production of the farmers, according to the beneficiaries.