As Stakeholders Validate Project
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector of Liberia have validated a climate-resilient rice production project (CRRP) that is expected to benefit about 13,620 smallholder rice farmers in five of the fifteen counties.
According to the Executive Director of the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), Mr. Robert Bimba, the project will seek to improve the resilience to climate change and increase the productivity of the rice system of smallholder farmers, throughout the West African region, using a more climate-adapted production approach.
The project is to be implemented by CHAP in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and partners in five counties including, Lofa, Bong, Nimba, Bomi, and Grand Gedeh, respectively.
The Climate Resilient Rice Production Project in West AFRICA (RICOWAS) is funded by Adaption Fund.
Speaking during a one day validation workshop at the Ministry of Agriculture central office in Congo Town, the Executive Director of CHAP, Mr. Bimba disclosed that the project is a reional project and is important in minimizing the level of venerability, due to climate change impacts that confront smallholder rice farmers in the agricultural sector.
Mr. Bimba told stakeholders at the meeting that climate change has a serious effect in the rice sector, and so the project would help to strengthen the capacity of rice farmers, through the use of improved technologies in rice cultivation.
“The project will seek to strengthen the resilience and capacity of small-scale rice farmers and other stakeholders in the rice sector by enabling them to use agro-ecological and sustainable land and water management strategies that respond to the threats of climate change in their respective localities,” he said.
“We shall support farmers to implement and improve CRRP, using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method and locally adapted soil and water conservation management approaches,” he added.
The CHAP Executive Director further stated that is organization is going to work with other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to address gaps related to the project for its successful implementation. According to him, the project when implemented successfully will help scale up the production of rice in the targeted counties.
Mr. Bimba used the occasion to call on the various stakeholders in the sector to work, along with his organization, something he emphasized that it would take only collaborative approach to make the project a success as been done in others parts of the sub-region.
Also speaking, the Deputy Minister for Planning and Development at the MOA, Robert Fagans, said that his ministry is pleased about the initiative because it is clearly associatied with the ministry’s strategies to improve the production of rice in the country.
Minister Fagans said that his ministry is working with rice producers to establish concreate irrigation structures in the lowland that will enable farmers to produce in a sustianable manners.
“To make sure that we can improve the level of production in rice, we are working to built durable irrigation structures for farmers in the sector to feed our current population. The population of our country is increasing rapidly and we can’t no longer continue rice import, but must learn to produce more for ourselves,” he said.
He said if Liberia is to improve the production of rice to satisfy to growing population, there is a need that the country invests more in improved technologies.
“We are thinking of using all of our climate-smart rice production fields with concrete irrigation structures.
According to him, it will require the government to spend nearly 1.8 million to improve the various lowland rice fields in rice-producing counties.
Minister Fagans said that the government is engaigng investors to make tangible investment in the rice sector.
“Just a county in Liberia can feed the entire country with rice, if only we make the necessary investment, considering how fertile our land conditions are,” he asserted.
The MoA Deputy Minister added that the ministry is developing a mechanization policy that will encourage investors to invest in the rice sector.