An official of the Tarlesson Farmers’ Cooperative Incorporated (TFCI) says the entity has mobilized 40,000 farmers in River Gee County for rice and vegetable production.
Elijah W. Toe, Executive Director of TFCI made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer on Monday.
He said the organization has acquired 50 acres of land to cultivate rice and vegetables.
The TFCI was established in 2015 by Rev. Roosevelt Tarlesson, who now resides in California, United States, Mr Toe said.
“We initially proposed to the Ministry of Agriculture for a grant of US$500,000 to include training, extension services and technical assistance to local farmers,” Director Toe said, adding that the group does not intend to engage in subsistence farming.
The MOA informed his group, however, that such funding is not in the Ministry’s budgetary appropriation, Toe said.
The MOA instead suggested that the farmers apply for loans to enhance their agricultural activities in River Gee County, Toe said.
TFCI officials did apply for a loan, which would also help with youth empowerment, through a formal letter to the MOA. The TFCI also requested for farming equipment to expand its multipurpose agricultural projects in Kanweaken and its surrounding towns in River Gee County, Toe disclosed.
On April 24, 2016 TFCI requested a grant of US$10, 000 from the MOA. Although the MOA is yet to respond to its request, TFCI believes that much can be achieved if it gets the grant.
Director Toe described agriculture as the bedrock of any country because it stimulates socioeconomic development.
Toe underscored the need for the reconstruction of highways and farm to market roads in all parts of the country.
He added that bad roads have been the biggest challenge facing farmers in River Gee County.