Liberia: Young Farmer Craves Empowerment for Urban Farming

David K. Jesse standing in his garden in the Zubah Town community

I want the ministry of agriculture to empower the young people who are involved in urban gardening with seeds, and tools

By Claudius T. Greene Jr.

David Jesse, a young gardener, said there is a need for the government to empower more young people who are in the urban agriculture sector.

Urban agriculture is the cultivation of crops and the raising of animals in cities and their outskirts. It was introduced in Liberia in 2011 by the Liberian government to create jobs for poor urban dwellers and to also improve household nutrition. But for more than a decade, the government’s urban agriculture program has proven not sustainable. It is reported that more women and a few of the youths are using the soil to grow food and earn income but lack substantial support.

Jesse told the Daily Observer that many young people involved in urban agriculture, particularly in Monrovia and its environs, are faced with the challenge of agriculture tools and seeds.

As an urban gardener in the Zubah Town community, he is using the soil to earn money to advance his university education. Jesse is a senior student at the University of Liberia, where he is majoring in agriculture.

“My involvement in gardening is not because I want to do it as a source of income but because of my love for agriculture. I do have a great passion for it.”

Jesse further disclosed that “he started his gardening journey at an early age, after growing up in a family that knows about agriculture. 

“And seeing my father make a garden and involving me in it, I started gardening at an early age. I was 14 years old, around 2010-2011”, he said, “I grew up in a family that really knows about agriculture. My father also has technical knowledge and used to make gardens and I used to help him do his garden work”, he explained

Jesse believes that agriculture could be one of the means to boost Liberia’s economy.  

“Looking at the country, I believe it could be one of the means to boost the economy,” he said,

Jesse has planted maize, okra, cucumber, watermelon, and ‘platto’ in his community.

The young gardener said “his intention is to have a large farm, but lack of money to expand his operation is a challenge for him.

“It won’t be anyone's intention to just stay in the same position. I actually want to have a large farm, but the issue with it is that it is capital intensive. The prices of tools and seeds are costly,” he explained.