Liberia: EU-Funded Project Mentor Extension Officers on Improved Aquaculture Technology

Trained extension officers from Gbarpolu, Bong, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland counties

A two-day training aim at building the capacity of extension personels  to establish fingerlings and food-fish production of Tilapia in rice fields has ended in Bong County. 

The training which is under the EU-Founded DeSIRA-Integrated Rice Fish Farming system  IRFFS) project was organized and facilitated by AfricaRice and WorldFish, the project lead-implementing partners, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA),  National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI).   

“For the two days that we are here, we will focus on seed production of tilapia and the production of tilapia in the Integrated Rice Fish Farming System. Together we will analyze the fish production system in Liberia with consideration given to the sector’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges,” said Dr. Benoy Kumar Barman, Senior Scientist, WorldFish, when presenting the purpose and objectives of the training program. 

The training program dubbed “Training of Trainers Program on Quality Seed and Foodfish Production of Tilapia in Rice Fields” brought together nineteen extension officers from various government ministries and agencies, including the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA). Also the DeSIRA-IRFFS project’s County Focal Persons (CFPs) participated in the training. 

Presentations during the training program centered on the production of mixed-sex quality tilapia fingerlings in rice fields and food-fish production of tilapia in rice fields.

AfricaRice Country Representative and IRFFS-Project Coordinator Dr. Inoussa Akintayo said that the training’s objectives aligned with the DeSIRA-IRFFS project’s goal, which aims to improve food and nutrition security and farmers’ income

“The project seeks to improve food and nutrition security and farmers’ income. Additionally, the project looks at capacity development activities like this one and many other activities to meet its goal. Once again, on behalf of the project team, we are excited to be exchanging with you all; let us make the best of this opportunity so that we can effectively deliver to our farmers tomorrow,” said Dr. Akintayo. 

What is said about the DeSIRA-IRFFS project? 

The DeSIRA-IRFFS project aims to improve food and nutrition security by transforming low-yielding, climate-risky traditional rice-fish production systems into more climate-resilient, high-yielding, resource-use efficient systems in Liberia. 

The project targets 174 household farmers in each of its implemented counties - Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Margibi, and River Gee. 

 How does the IRFF System work?

Under this IRFF system, farmers grow rice and fish together in a pond or field. Although this farming system requires intensity from the onset, particularly when constructing the ponds, farmers reap the reward of their labor. The IRFFS is also a climate-smart technology that discourages deforestation and encourages sustainable land use, such as wetlands.    

 The DeSIRA-IRFF project has introduced fast-maturing vegetable cultivation as another income stream for beneficiary farmers in the integrated rice-fish farming system. For instance, farmers grow lettuce and cabbage at the fringe of the ponds and harvest them two to three times while both the rice and fish mature gradually.  

 Actors implementing the DeSIRA-IRFFS project

Africa Rice and World Fish are implementing the EU-funded DeSIRA Integrated Rice Fish Farming System project (IRFFS) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA). 

 Project Support So Far

Since its official inauguration in March 2021, the project has so far conducted a series of training on the IRFFS, supplied farm equipment to beneficiary farmer groups, supplied rice and fish seeds with a short maturing duration, and continues to render technical support to beneficiary farming groups.