Liberia: Bong Smallholder Farmers Harvest 10 Hectares Paddy Rice

The Bellemue farmers engage the harvest of the 10.0 hectares paddy field  

— As FAO and Counterparts participate in the official launch of paddy harvest 

Smallholder farmers in Bellemue, Bong County have commenced the harvest of approximately 10 hectares of paddy field in their community for income generation.

According to press release from the FAO Liberia office, the rice project is being supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) under the project titled ‘Promoting increased resilience and sustainable income generation, food security and nutrition for rural women’, funded by the government and people of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  

The FAO and counterparts including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and Ministry of State without Portfolio participated in the official launch of paddy harvest for the 2022 cropping season, the release said. 

Also participating in the event were local authorities including the District Commissioner, Town Chief, youth group, etc.) and the beneficiary farmers. The Panta Farmers’ Rural Women Cooperative, based in Bellemue is involved in the production of paddy (rice), integrated with fish (Tilapia) farming, and currently has approximately 10.0 ha of paddy field under cultivation. The group is expected to harvest more than 30.0 metric tonnes of paddy from the 10.0 ha paddy field this cropping season.

The Panta Rural Women, along with 23 other farmer groups were profiled in 2019 and are being supported under the project.

The official launch was performed by FAO Country Representative Madam Mariatou Njie, WFP’s Deputy Country Director, the Deputy Minister for Extension & Research, MoA, George T. Forpoh, and the Deputy Minister of State Without Portfolio Anthony J. Quiwonkpa. The guests applauded the farmers for their efforts aimed at ensuring increased food production and at the same time addressing the issues of food insecurity in the country.

Overview of the UAE Project
With request from the President of Liberia, the Government of the United Arab Emirates is supporting the Government of Liberia to fund the project titled - Promoting Increased Resilience and Sustainable Income Generation, Food Security and Nutrition for Rural Women. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is implementing the market-driven agribusiness project, along with the Ministries of Agriculture, and Internal Affairs. The project’s objective is to increase rural women’s incomes and enhance households’ food and nutrition security through improved production and marketing of rice, poultry, vegetables, and fish. Valued at US$4 Million, the project is being implemented in five of Liberia’s fifteen counties (Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Gbarpolu, and Montserrado) and is supporting 24 farmer groups comprising 1,966 beneficiaries (533 males, and 1,433 females). The project is supporting the beneficiary groups to intensify the production of lowland rice, vegetables, poultry, and inland aquaculture. As part of the support package, the project has delivered improved agricultural inputs including quality seeds, fertilizers, farm machines (power tillers, rice harvesters, and threshers), and assorted agricultural hand tools to beneficiary groups. The project further constructed six poultry houses to promote poultry production integrated with intensive vegetable production. The project is utilizing the “Caisse de Résilience” (CdR) approach — an integrated community-centered approach linking social, technical, and financial dimensions in a mutually reinforcing way.