‘Sustainable Support to Rural Agriculture Would Stimulate Socio-economic Empowerment’

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Farmers of the Konjorloe Community in Lofa County have underscored the urgent need for sustained support to the agriculture sector in order to stimulate genuine empowerment for both urban and rural Liberians.

The Konjorloe farmers—mainly women and young men— made the assertion recently in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer during disbursement of funds by the Village People’s Empowerment (VIPE) as part of the organization’s micro-credit initiative.

Many of the poor subsistence farmers secured the interest free soft loans as a result of the timely payment of previous loans obtained from VIPE to villages in Foya District.

Farmers explained that access to feeder roads remains a major challenge associated with conveying their agriculture products to the nearest markets.

They pointed out as farmers that continue to feed the nation and its citizenry, priority must be given to their social challenges.

“We continue to work through the old subsistence methods of farming without technical and financial assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and other related agriculture stakeholders in the country,” Konjorloe farmers revealed.

The farmers recalled that prior to the civil war; the World Bank’s agriculture initiatives in rural Liberia provided highly trained agriculture extension personnel that assisted the farmers with technical, post-harvest, preservation and managerial services.

“That sustained initiative made significant progress in terms of substantial harvests, preservation and storage of crops, and post harvest management skills in both urban and rural Liberia,” the farmers said.

The farmers stressed the need for the provision of relevant farming tools and machines; especially in the lowland farming sector.

They called for sustainable support for farmers training in and outside of the country.

They stressed the need for the decentralization of the farmers’ fair program throughout the country.

The rural farmers — who are mainly peanut and cassava growers— stressed the need for the rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads in hard to reach communities in the country.

“Access to farm-to-market roads by farmers in the rural areas should be a priority of the Liberian Government,” the farmers emphasized.

Meanwhile, in several districts of Lofa County, hundreds of farms have been burnt owing to signs of early rains in the county.

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