— Cultivated 18.5 hectares of swamp
The Liberia Farmers Development Corporation (LIFADCO) has successfully revived the activities of the Kpodoe Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative in Zayglay, near Bahn City in Nimba County.
With the assistance provided by LIFADCO, the cooperative has cultivated approximately 18.5 hectares of swamp with rice, which have been divided into 1,200 plots. Each hectare is expected to yield about 2.5 metric tons of seed rice.
“The swamp land Kpodoe cultivated this year is far beyond what they had been cultivating. And this is because of our support to the group,” Boris Barlea, the head of LIFADCO, told the Daily Observer in an interview.
Kpodoe, which used to be one of the leading farmer cooperatives in Nimba before the civil war, had experienced a decline in its operations over the years. However, since being provided with a rice mill and a new tractor by the USAID-funded NGO, known as the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), the cooperative has been rejuvenated.
LIFADCO now manages the swamp farm alongside Kpodoe. In addition to assisting in cultivation, LIFADCO also offers extension services and promotes good agricultural practices to smallholder farmers and cooperatives through farmer field schools.
“The swamp farm is managed by LIFADCO alongside Kpodoe,” Barlea said. “We also provide extension services and good agriculture practices to smallholder farmers and cooperatives through farmers' field school.”
The aim is to enhance agricultural productivity in rice, vegetables, cash crops, and tree crops. LIFADCO is currently working with over 7,000 farmers in Nimba, primarily focusing on rice production. The group is also constructing a cassava processing plant in Flolay to export finished cassava products.
Despite their achievements, LIFADCO faces challenges such as high labor costs, post-harvest expenses, and maintenance of farming equipment, including tractors and power tillers that are currently owned by the cooperatives they work with.
Barlea disclosed that the institution needs financial support to strengthen its extension services and provide assistance to farmers engaged in rice farming.