In bid to enhance livestock production in Liberia, the United States Agencies for International Development/Food and Enterprise Development Program (USAID/FED) has rehabilitated the Central Agricultural Research Institute’s (CARI) livestock quarantine facility in Suakoko, Bong County.
The facility was dedicated last Friday by the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Ms. Deborah Malac.
The program was attended by the Deputy Minister for Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Seklau Wiles, and the Chief of Party for USAID/FED, Agnes Luz and among other dignitaries.
The CARI’s livestock house was destroyed during Liberia’s fourteen year civil crisis. Thanks to USAID/FED’s partnership with the government of Liberia, the facility was revamped to meet the needs of livestock farmers in the country.
According to the project document, about 500 improved varieties of goats are initially expected to occupy the new facility.
USAID/FED will focus on improving goats husbandry techniques to increase production, while USDA and Land O’ Lakes (USDA/LOL) are to restock the nation’s goat population.
The document further explained that goat farmers under the FED program are going to benefit from an imported herd of genetically proven goats to upgrade their existing herd, adding that the facility would be used as a home for nucleus breeding.
Cutting the ribbon off the animals’ house last Friday in CARI, Ambassador Malac stated the United States government was gratified to support Liberia’s agricultural programs to reduce poverty and help the country become food secured.
“The U.S government has made and will continue to make major investments to support agriculture and agri-business in Liberia through its close partnership with government institutions and agencies. Through projects such as the quarantine facility and the establishment of a thriving goat sector in Liberia, the U.S. government reaffirms its long standing commitment to help reduce poverty and achieve food security,” she said.
She emphasized that the facility was critical to the overall process of increasing the national goat herd and represented how her government coordinates investment among different government agencies.
“Goats are primary asset of rural village households and farms in Liberia. Considering that nearly 80 percent of all the goat meat consumed in the country is imported from surrounding countries, we intend to reverse that trend,” she explained.
The U.S Ambassador mentioned that FED has not only partnered with CARI to increase livestock production, but was also into rice seed multiplication and certification as well as the multiplication of improved varieties of cassava cuttings.
For her part, Mrs. Wiles said the government of Liberia was thankful to the people and government of America for helping to revamp the agricultural sector of Liberia.
The MoA’s deputy minister, who once served as the national livestock coordinator for her ministry prior to her appointment, said that Liberia had been very productive in livestock production prior to the civil crisis.
“Before the war, this facility served as our dairy cattle’s bond that hosted exotic (foreign) breed used for the crossing. We firmly believe that its revamping begins the intention to increase livestock production. This is why we are thankful for the assistance of the U.S government,” she stated joyfully.
Dr. Arthur Kanua is the director for livestock research at CARI.
He earlier confirmed at the program that his institution (CARI) has partnered with USAID/FED and USDA/LOL to enhance animal farming in Liberia.
Speaking exclusively with the Daily Observer newspaper, after the program, the Acting Chief of Party for USDA/LOL, Madam Allison Williams, disclosed that by June of this year her institution is expected to restock the facility at CARI with goats.
“We will be able to bring high quality of animals perhaps by June,” she said.
According to her, they are working with fifty-nine goat farming groups in the country to increase animal production, adding that farmers are taught to breed livestock as a business.