Liberia: 16 Extension Officers Get Improved Rice-Fish Farming Technology Skills
About 16 agricultural extension officers from five counties including Bong, Maryland, River Gee, Grand Gedeh, and Gbarpolu Counties recently benefited from a two-day capacity building training of trainers workshop on improved rice fish farm technology.
The training was aimed at educating the extension officers on how to improve quality rice seed and food-fish production in Liberia.
It was conducted at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County by World Fish, an international non-profit research and innovation organization that works to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty across Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Africa Rice Liberia and World Fish are currently implementing the EU funded DeSIRA integrated rice fish farming system project in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA). For over 45 years now, World Fish has worked on sustainable aquaculture and fishing has improved the lives of millions of women, men, and youth.
Fish and rice are major components of the Liberian diet, Liberia is blessed with all it needs to produce enough rice and fish, but unfortunately, the country continues to import rice and fish on a large scale.
Liberia spends about 200 million on importing its staple food, while it also spends about 40 million on importing fish annually.
Speaking during the workshop, Dr. Inoussa Akintayo also believes that Liberia has huge potential to produce more fish and rice, adding that the current fish-rice farming project is aimed at reducing Liberia’s rice and fish imports.
According to Akintayo, the EU's integrated rice fish farming system has been designed to correct such an unfortunate situation in the country.
He said the workshop was important for extension officers because it intends to drill them on seeds and feed as well as the use of farm-made feeds for brood stock.
According to him, the EU integrated rice fish farming system is going to create another opportunity for many young people in Liberia, especially recent university graduates, who will want to take advantage of such an opportunity.”
He stressed that the best way to find a job is to create one for yourself.
“Most young people should now see the EU's integrated rice fish farming system as an opportunity for themselves,” he said.
According to him, fish and other aquatic foods grown in and harvested from oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds provide income for more than 800 million people and provide 3.3 billion with 20% of their animal protein intake.
Also speaking, Dr. Benoy Kumar Barman, Word Fish Senior Scientist, acknowledged that while it is true that Liberia is challenged in the area of technology and logistics, the country has rich natural resources, such as water and filtered soil, to increase rice and fish production on an industrial scale.
According to him, World Fish will closely work with the relevant government agencies to build the capacity of extension officers in the fisheries sector.