The national trainers of trainers (ToT) workshop on the practices of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) workshop on last Thursday ended in Kakata, Margibi County with participants committing themselves to prioritize SRI in the production of rice to train farmers in the country.
A term of reference was developed that would ensure that the program be carried out speedily.
It seeks among other things, the monitoring and evaluation of various rice projects on the SRI practices.
The participants’ approach is meant to increase the production of rice in the country.
The Community Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) organized the training with support from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) through the World Bank and the Government of Japan.
It brought together over 70 stakeholders in the agriculture sector of Liberia, representatives from Mali and Sierra Leone as well as local farmers.
The SRI is an innovation that changes the conventional practices of rice growing by namely enabling the rice plants to better express their potential of production. In practice is consists of producing rice with less seed, water and fertilizers on a soil rich in organic matter and well ventilated.
This new method of growing rice to increase yield has become a mandate of 13 West African countries for farmers to prioritize it in cultivating rice to have the sub region self-sufficient in rice production.
West African countries adopting the practice of the SRI include, Nigeria, Niger, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Burkina-Faso, Senegal and among others. Liberia has now become a part of the process.
Speaking at the close of the workshop on Thursday, the executive director of CHAP, Reverend Robert Bimba urged the participants to implement the knowledge acquire from the workshop in their respective counties.
“In order to succeed the goal of this program, you are to serve as champions of the SRI in your various communities. Please ensure that what you have learnt can be taught to other farmers,” he urged the participants.
Rev. Bimba stated that with more supports from government and partners to empower local farmers the program will become a success.
He named the increased of extension services to farmers and the provision of farming inputs as needed assistance for farmers to enhance the program in the country.
He also stated that Liberian themselves mainly farmers must labor hard to grow the food the country needs.
“The SRI method is labor intensive so our farmers must work harder to grow more rice,” he added.
Al so speaking, an Agri- business consultant Henry Augustus Robert stresses the need for the creation of market for Liberian farmers.
“There is a limited market that exists for farmers in the country and there is a need that government partners with the private sector to ensure that farmers have the opportunities to market their produce,” he mentioned.
He said that the lack of storage facilities also posed a serious problem for many farmers.
“To practice the SRI in the country the issue regarding marketing must be taken seriously,” he concluded.