This year’s World Food Day celebration in Liberia highlighted the need for government and partners to seriously fight against climate change impact on agriculture in order to improve the lives of farmers and enhance food security.
The World Food Day event was held in Saclepea, Nimba County, under the theme: “Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture Must, Too.” It was embraced by government and its partners with the focus to fight climate change and improve food production in Liberia.
The Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Liberia, Marc Abdala, said climate change is a global issue, and local farmers should work tirelessly to adjust to the climate change manifesto.
“Many people have raised concerns on how local farmers need to get adjusted to climate change. This is significant because climate change is now widely recognized as the major environmental problem facing the globe,” he said.
The FAO boss stated that there is a need for local farmers to be fully supported in all of their value chains and in all capacities to enable them to increase productivity especially in the wake of climate change, which is seriously affecting agriculture.
He explained that most of the support coming to Liberia is not being transmitted to the right areas, which leads to more work for farmers.
“We don’t consider farmers; this means that all support is going to the wrong hands and much impact is not seen by farmers. We need to know the right places responsible for certain areas in the agriculture sector to enable partners to clearly work with the right institutions for better impact,” the FAO Director said.
He also mentioned that as part of efforts to improve food security, the FAO is providing technical support to farmers, and encouraged all farmers to work with FAO, adding that technical work is key to the improvement of agriculture, for which they remain ready for any contributions.
Mrs. Julie MacDonald, Deputy Country Director of WFP, explained that climate change is already negatively affecting food production in many parts of the world including Southern, Western and Northern Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.
According to her, many countries have tried to cope by adopting various innovative approaches. In a similar manner, the WFP Center of Excellence in Brazil is currently working with WFP and the government of Liberia to help improve the country’s nutritional status.
“But as this year’s theme of World Food Day states, climate is changing so we must adapt and change the way we produce our food, be it in rice, vegetable, fishery, livestock and agro-forestry. Just last month a delegation from Liberia visited Brazil again to acquire best practice methodologies for Liberia. In the future, WFP hopes to work along with its partners on similar outreach initiatives to fight climate change,” she said.
The WFP representative made it clear that together with partners in FAO, IFAD, MOA and the donor community, it is considering new and innovative ways to strengthen the value supply chain and ultimately strengthen the sustainability and income of farmers through increased production, less waste due to poor post-harvest handling, value added activities and strengthening the famers’ ability to bring their products to markets at a fair and profitable price.
She assured the government and partners of WFP’ steadfast loyalty and commitment to support Liberia in a sustainable manner in all the agriculture and food security value chain components from capacity development, agriculture assets creations, production, processing, marketing to utilization, completely devoid of the machinations of the middleman.
Addressing the issue of climate change, the head of Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, Mr. Julius K. Sele, advised lawmakers to stop building youth centers, clinics or schools and concentrate on building roads and bridges to enable farmers to get their produce to the market.
He said there is food everywhere across the nation, but how to take them to the market remains a key challenge; and it kills the spirit of the farmers.
“Once there is good road connectivity, NGO will build schools, clinics and the rest of it; the NGOs will build roads for the community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Moses Zinah called on partners to continually collaborate with his Ministry in the fight against climate change to improve food security.