At least 45 agro-inputs dealers have completed a one-day intensive training on inputs delivery through a mobile transaction system that will benefit smallholder farmers in the fifteen counties of Liberia.
The training was conducted on Monday at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) sub-office in Fendell, outside Monrovia.
It is an initiative that is being supported by the MOA under the Liberia Agriculture Transformation Agenda (LATA), which seeks to empower local farmers with key inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides to increase yields in the various value chains to make the country self-reliant in food production.
To achieve and sustain the goal of LATA, the MOA is working with the private sector, including the National Agro-inputs Dealers Association of Liberia (ADAL), to reach farmers with necessary inputs.
Launched in March 2017, ADAL is the umbrella organization of trained and qualified agro-dealers across the country involved in providing agro-inputs and educating farmers on how they can properly use the inputs.
The president of ADAL, Rebecca S. Kalayi, told the Daily Observer on Tuesday in Monrovia that members of ADAL are to shortly begin the distribution of inputs to farmers who are engaged primarily in rice and cassava production.
“More than 400,000 registered farmers in the rice and cassava value chains from the fifteen counties are to receive seed rice, fertilizer, agro-chemicals and improved cassava cuttings to use on their farms. The agro-dealers are taking assignments in the various counties to ensure the distribution of these inputs in a timely manner. The inputs will be given to the farmers through the use of the mobile phone,” she said.
Mrs. Kalayi mentioned that farmers who are to benefit from the inputs are those registered by the MOA, who are also expected to contribute a little token in cash.
“The cash contribution by the farmers toward the inputs is meant to make them take full ownership of their farming activities. They will also receive education from the assigned agro-dealers on the use of these inputs.
“We can assure the country that the inputs delivery to the farmers will be properly managed by the assigned agro-dealers. The ministry has entrusted us with this task because we are trained and are involved in working with farmers,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Kalayi is calling on the MOA and partners to further build the capacity of agro-dealers so that they can effectively work with farmers in the country.
She named logistics and reduction in the price of agricultural implements as some needed assistance that can benefit her organization.