The Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), a group championing peri-urban rice production in Liberia, is poised to incorporate the "Integrated Rice-Fish Farming System (IRFFS)" in its operation.
The announcement was made by the Chief Executive Officer of CHAP, Rev. Robert Bimba, disclosed this during the visitation of Dr. Inoussa Akintayo, Project Lead of the EU-funded DeSIRA- Integrated Rice Fish Farming System (DeSIRA-IRFFS) project.
Bimba said his institution is formulating strategies to incorporate the technology in the coming planting season since the system aligns with CHAP's ambition to accelerate production.
“Our commitment is to do three times cropping and produce 48 thousand bags of rice annually, and it is possible under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). However, the inclusion of the IRFFS system could show diversification in food production, which aligns with our goal. We know that there is a need to grow food, and we are resolved to grow food,” says Bimba.
Bimba further added that CHAP had engaged in discussion with Dr Inoussa Akintayo regarding the possibility of introducing the IRFF technology on a portion of 100 acres of lowland that the Liberian Government has surveyed.
“The good news is that the Government has surveyed 100 acres of lowland, and we will be cultivating the land in the coming days. So the intention, like I was talking to Dr Akintayo, on how we can integrate the fish and vegetables. CHAP looks forward to the UNDP and Government's pledges to embark on this journey,” said Bimba
What is the IRFF System?
The Integrated Rice Fish Farming System (IRFFS), introduced by the EU-funded DeSIRA- Integrated Rice Fish Farming System (IRFFS) Project, allows farmers to grow rice and fish together in a pond or field. The IRFFS is also a climate-smart technology that discourages deforestation and encourages sustainable land use, such as wetlands. Also, farmers grow fast-maturing vegetables, another income-generating activity under the IRFF system. For instance, farmers grow lettuce and cabbage at the fringe of the ponds and harvest them two to three times while they await the harvest of the rice and fish.
Dr. Akintayo’s visit to CHAP comes ten years after playing a vital role in establishing the group. The current project lead of the EU-funded DeSIRA-IRFFS project toured the CHAP facility and witnessed the threshing of rice harvested under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) technology in the Zuba Town Community Paynesville.
After ten years, reacting to CHAP's work, Dr. Akintayo applauded the group, stating that CHAP is a demonstration that Liberians can feed themselves.
“From the beginning, when I came here, I would meet very few workers and, when I asked, they say that some of the church people could not come because they did not have food. I was shocked. I recall complaining to Bimba Sr. about the issues, but he told me that things would improve and I would be proud of this initiative. Fast forward, here I am after ten years, and I am so much proud of CHAP. Congratulations!” Dr. Akintayo said.