Obasanjo Farms Liberia, incorporated (OFL), a multi-million dollar poultry project established to help revamp Liberia’s poultry industry, on Saturday, May 10, launched a hatchery program in Gbah Town, Grand Cape Mount County.
The program is expected to benefit several potential Liberian poultry farmers.
Over 100 participants including top government officials, agriculture stakeholders and local farmers graced the ceremony.
OFL is a private investment of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. The farm was established in 2013, upon the request of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Giving an overview of the program on Saturday, the general manager of the farm, Adeyemo G. Jamiyu said that the intention of the hatchery program is to promote the revival of poultry industry in Liberia that would help reduce the importation of day-old chicks by Liberian farmers.
“The essence of today’s gathering is to commission Obasanjo Farm’s 95,050 capacity hatchery. The average weekly egg capacity of this hatchery is 36,680. We are expecting 22,000 to 24,000 broider chicks per week or at least 1000 pullets (layer chicks) depending on the demand,” he said.
He further said that there was the need to inaugurate poultry farmers’ organizations, which would work with the government at all levels to identify feasible projects for growth of the poultry industry in Liberia.
According to Mr. Jamiyu, OFL was committed to ensure that poultry farmers in the country are provided with all of the necessary inputs to enhance productivities.
“We have put into place the necessary facilities for rearing of commercial layers for the production of table eggs and hatchery for quality day-old chicks,” he disclosed.
“Feed mill equipment for the production of poultry rations and veterinarian medicines will also be provided,” he added.
The Obasanjo Farm manager further disclosed plans for the training of poultry farmers in the country.
“There is also a plan to commence a broiler project (Chickens raised for marketing) in a very soonest possible time,” he further added.
“Our next priority task is to develop a broiler processing plant that will enable us to accommodate out-growers, who will raise the birds for marketing,” he disclosed.
Out-growers are outsiders, who would be engaged into production of the chicken from one-day old and would sell the chickens back to OFL. They are separate poultry farmers outside OFL.
Mr. Jamiyu stressed the need for Liberian farmers to collaborate with financial institutions in the country in order to access loan for the establishment of small businesses in the poultry sector.
Meanwhile, he has called on farmers in the country to work harder toward the production of maize (corn) as the poultry farm will largely depend on such inputs.
Montserrado County Representative Josephine Francis, who attended the program, said the Government of Liberia was pleased about the investment in the country.
Rep. Francis stated that the time has come for Liberian farmers to attach seriousness to agriculture in order to make the country food-secured.
“There is no need for Liberia to continue to spend millions every year for food importation. We have the potential to change this particular trend considering our fertile soil and favorable climate. All that we need to do is to develop more interest in agriculture,” she said.
Madam Francis, who is the House’s Chairperson on Agriculture, mentioned that the Liberian legislature was in support of agriculture in the country. Their support, according to her, is through the ratification of agriculture loans.
“We have been able to ratify several loans for the past years to help improve agricultural production,” she said.
For her part, Liberia’s Agriculture Minister, Dr. Florence Chenoweth said that there was a need for Liberia to put an end to the importation of poultry products.
“It is a serious fight to ensure that we make sure that these imported eggs on our market cease. This we are able to do through the investment of the Obasanjo farm and other initiatives by Liberian farmers,” she asserted.
She said that small holder poultry farmers working in the rural parts of Liberia were improving their lives through the production of poultry but needed help to improve their capacities.
“We are thankful for the initiative of President Sirleaf, who has helped some women farmers in Lofa County to increase their production,” she said.