At least 5000 smallholder farmers, mainly women in Bong, Bomi, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, and Montserrado counties, are expected to receive improved seed rice for cultivation this year under the Community Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), the executive director of the program has disclosed.
Robert Bimba made the disclosure on Thursday, April 4, 2019 in Tubmanburg, Bomi County at a meeting to distribute seed rice to smallholder farmers in that part of the country.
According to Bimba, the initiative is aimed at promoting the “Rice Investment Scheme for Empowerment (RISE),” which the organization launched recently in Ganta, Nimba County.
CHAP is a Liberian-owned national initiative, specialized in working with urban and rural communities since 2008. The organization is using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), an improved technology for rice production.
Bimba explained to the farmers that the launch of RISE is to motivate them, mainly the women, to produce more rice to the extent that importation of the commodity would reduce.
He said farmers in the targeted counties are encouraged to make a voluntary contribution of US$1. to support the RISE initiative.
“This is a business model that encourages farmers to become independent. It empowers every farm family with 10kg of improved seed rice to produce from one hectare using the SRI method,” Mr. Bimba explained.
He said CHAP is working to ensure the timely delivery of seed rice to the farmers, who are undertaking projects.
“The beneficiaries must be willing to grow rice, taking in to consideration the improved practice they are have learned earlier. At least 1,000 farmers will receive the seed rice in Bomi County, but we intend to extend the distribution to farmers in other parts of the country soon,” Bimba said.
He further encouraged the farmers to produce enough rice as a way to promote the “Love the Liberian Rice Campaign,” which is another initiative the CHAP program has introduced.
Bimba said his organization is supporting the farmers not only in rice production, but also processing, marketing as well as transportation methods.
“We ensure that the rice produced by the farmers are bought at affordable price to motivate them to cultivate more rice,” he said.
Bimba further said that under the program, farmers are provided with machines to enhance their level of productivity.
Meanwhile, Bimba has applauded the farmers’ cooperative in Bomi County that CHAP is collaborating with, due to its seriousness in cultivating their farmland.
Bimba, who toured the project site of the farmers after the meeting, said the farmers in Bomi County possessed potential swampland that can help the county to increase rice production, noting that farmers only need the encouragement to produce more food.
Bomi County District Agriculture Officer (DAO), Augustine B. Momo, thanked CHAP for assisting farmers with seed rice. He described the CHAP’s initiative as timely, adding that it will greatly help the farmers. He stressed the need for government to provide more supports to farmers to become self-sufficient in food, noting that farmers are in need of seeds, tools and machines to improve in farming.
He then promised to collaborate with CHAP to move the ‘Love Liberian Rice Campaign” forward in his county.