At least 1, 800 smallholder farmers from Cape Mount, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Bomi and Lofa counties are currently receiving training in System of Rice Intensification (SRI).
SRI is an improved farming methodology for increasing the productivity of rice by changing the management practices of the seedlings (plant), water, soil and nutrients to get better yields. This improved technology to grow rice is being practiced by many West African countries and was launched in Liberia in 2013 with the goal of increasing rice production.
The Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, recently signed an agreement with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), with finance from the Japanese Food Security Grant to promote SRI in the targeted counties.
Making the disclosure to the Daily Observer, the Executive Director of CHAP and Focal Person for SRI in Liberia, Rev. Robert Bimba, stated that the project will benefit mostly farmers who were affected by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia.
“We have completed the training for technicians who are now engaging farmers on the practice of SRI to improve productivity and income. This program is aimed at helping farmers recover from the effects of Ebola. The farmers will be provided with all necessary supports, including seeds, training, fertilizers, addressing post-harvest challenges and market linkages to generate better incomes for the farmers,” he said.
According to Rev. Bimba, the program will last for 10 months and is expected to get farmers to fully adopt the growing of rice for two cropping seasons in the lowlands with the SRI methodology.
“Liberian farmers are gradually adopting the practice of SRI since its introduction and we are now scaling up the practice in other parts of the country,” he said.