The National Director of 4-H Liberia, G. Umaru Sheriff, has called on the Government of Liberia to provide support to his organization to enhance the agricultural skills of students if the Pro-Poor Agenda must be achieved through agriculture.
Mr. Sheriff made the call over the weekend at the 2nd national agriculture fair for students held in Monrovia.
Sheriff stressed the importance of the program and said it is to serve as a driving force for students to get involved in agribusiness and be able to make sound decisions in the future.
He said the 4-H Liberia started with six clubs and, through the help of the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), more than eighty clubs in six counties have been added.
He said the institution is not only enhancing the students’ agriculture skills but also providing them leadership skills.
“The program has not only benefited students but the communities and farmers through the replication of skills by students, and has generated thousands of Liberian dollars.
Meanwhile, he outlined challenges including logistical constraints and the lack of funds to sustain the program.
“We are engaging stakeholders to see how best we can get support as our organization cannot do it alone,” he added.
He said that the 4-H program is successful in other African countries due to government’s priority. “The program will become successful in Liberia provided the government takes the lead,” he reiterated.
He further said plans are underway to increase activities of the program in Nimba and Grand Bassa counties in vegetable and honey bee production.
Alvin C. Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Agriculture described the 4-H program as cardinal to achieving the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Minister Wesseh said it was important to begin the 4-H program with young people because it will help them make sound decisions upon their graduation from high school. “Today in Liberia many young people are not career oriented, everyone wants to work in the government. But with this program, I think we will get to another level in the agriculture sector,” he stated.
Mama Togbah, a student from the Jawoe Manalah Public School in Bong County, used the occasion to express her interest in agriculture. She said the 4-H program has made her understand how important agriculture is to every nation and she wants to become the next richest farmer in her county.
The Agriculture Fair is an annual event hosted by the organization for students from Lofa, Bong, Bomi, Montserrado, Margibi, and Gbarpolu to participate in a competition by presenting various produce from their school gardens. The winners of this year’s competition included E J. Yancy from Kakata, Margibi as the first winner, while the St. Augustine Episcopal School in Bolahun, Lofa County emerged as the second winner. This year’s event brought together government officials from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Peace Corps, among other partners.