About 100 young people recruited from various communities in Paynesville have been hired to work as contractors at the Community Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) in Zubah Town, Paynesville.
CHAP hired the youths a month ago, to empower them earn incomes through the initiative of Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
It may be recalled that in April of this year, the Liberian president visited the CHAP project and promised to underwrite the cost for labor in an effort to expand CHAP’s works and help some interested young people in Paynesville get little cash to solve domestic problems.
“I am impressed that some of the citizens are working to till the soil in the Monrovia and so I stand to support their efforts,” President Sirleaf stated during her visit at the urban agriculture project.
CHAP was founded in 2008 aimed at prioritizing urban agriculture to enhance food security in Liberia. The farm land covered about 75 acres but just a very little portion is cultivated with rice and vegetables, due to the damage of the irrigation structures.
Speaking to the Daily Observer Farmer Desk recently in Zubah Town, the youths expressed delight for the opportunity created to work as laborers on the farm.
“I am glad that there is job for me here that I find to do for a living. I am very thankful to Mama Sirleaf for this opportunity,” said Elijah Yoursee, age 23.
Yoursee, a high school dropout, earned his living by crushing rocks in his community prior to the CHAP’s farm work. He said that it is his plan to get more money to enable him further his education in the near future.
“We want the President Sirleaf to continue to support the initiative for us to remain here and work,” he said.
Farming work is not an interest for many of Liberians youths, especially the young people residing in Monrovia. Many of the youths prefer motorcycling for quick income. But Yoursee said working on the farm will lead him to acquire skills in agriculture to make him a farmer.
“Before then, I did not know how to plant rice in the swamp. But it is now that I have learned such a skill,” he added.
As for Jonah Brown, agriculture is important for young people because it enhances self-employment.
“We cannot always expect to get imported food from Europe and Asia because our country has rich soil to feed itself. It would be good for many of us youths to venture into agriculture,”
According to Brown, young Liberians going into farming will help reduce the level of unemployment facing them.
Meanwhile, the farm technician of the CHAP project, John Koffeh, said that the president’s initiative has brought some level of relief to the project.
About 25 plots planted with NERICA rice were harvested through the practice of the system of rice intensification (SRI). SRI is a new technology for growing lowland rice, where less seeds are sown to get more yield.