The Senior Agriculture Specialist at the World Bank office in Liberia, Dr. Abimbola Adubi, has said that the World Bank sponsored West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP) is yielding more success in the country.
According to Dr. Adubi, the bank’s support to WAAPP in Liberia, which aims at prospering agricultural activities leading to food sufficiency, has been very fruitful.
Speaking to newsmen after a field trip to Gbedin, Nimba County, Dr. Adubi said the project has built the capacity of farmers and their organizations as well as relevant actors in the agriculture sector.
The trip took officials to Dokodan Farmers’ Cooperative in Gbedin comprising 410 acres of low-land farming project that is being supported by WAAPP through AfricaRice. The trip was led by Dr. Adubi, WAAP Country Director, Cyrus Sargbe, and other
WAAP visiting officials from the West African region, specifically the Mano River Union Coordination and two others from WAAPP’s offices in Senegal and Nigeria.
Dr. Adubi said the project has also helped to improve farmers’ knowledge, skills and competence in rice production, and contributed to improving the impact of training and dissemination of information on fertilizers and insecticides.
He said that he was impressed with the level of work that the farmers are doing in the community. “I’m very impressed with the work done here, especially meeting with the farmers and seeing the fields that look so beautiful.
World Bank and WAAPP officials are expected to travel to Washington DC shortly for a meeting on the prospects for the project in the region and Dr. Adubi said the message the Liberian team is taking with them is that the support of the World Bank to WAAPP has been very fruitful in Liberia.
“It has helped to develop new varieties of crops and made farmers adapt to new farming methodologies. It has also helped to develop CARI as a research institute and put it on a platform to generate ecology and new seed varieties,” he said.
He added, “Going forward, what we need is more government support, in terms of policies, and the fact that we can do seeds classifications and CARI as a research institute is standing firmly to compete with other research regional bodies within the West African region.”
Though there has been progress, many challenges still remain, he said explaining that “One of the problems has been getting farmers to the markets. So we need to work aggressively with the Liberian government in looking for markets for the farmers’ mass produce.”
He said private sector’s full participation would help in expanding agro-business in the country, because it would bring great benefit to the economy and in improving the lives of the Liberian people.
Dr. Adubi noted that there is need for the building of more farm to market roads across the country, most especially in the agriculture concentrated counties so that farmers will have the means to transport their produce to the markets or areas where the produce can be conveniently picked up.