More than 8,000 smallholder farmers in seven counties including Grand Bassa, Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Bomi, Cape Mount and Gbarpolu counties have begun receiving basic farming implement from the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on farming communities, a press release from the MOA has disclosed.
According to the release, the exercise which began on Wednesday January 8 is expected to end on January 14. 2021. The items include Knap Sprayer, First Aid Kit, Fertilizer, Rain Boots, Pairs of Hand Gloves, Rain Coats and Rubber buckets among others.
The release said that the distributions are part of the GOL commitment to increasing food security in the country by improving and increasing agriculture production as well as encouraging more Liberians in agriculture activities.
The operation is intended to ensure the availability of seeds, agro-processing equipment, and planting materials to targeted farming communities in Liberia that are affected as a result of the scourge of the COVID-19 Virus, the release said.
It can be recalled that on the eve of Christmas, the Ministry also distributed similar items to about 700 (Seven Hundred) household farmers and Cooperatives in Montserrado County.
The release further disclosed that the activity is being carried out by the MOA Contingency Emergency Response Implementation Committee (MOA/CER-IC) which was constituted and commissioned in 2020 by the Minister of Agriculture, Madam Jeanine Milly Cooper.
The Committee is tasked with the responsibility to carry out the field implementation of the activities and effectively monitor and report on output and lessons learned. The MOA/CER-IC is managed by an experienced team comprising MOA staff, special contractors with technical backstopping by the Smallholder Transformation Agriculture Revitalization Project (STAR-Project).
At the launch of the distribution process in Margibi County on Wednesday January 8, 2020, Acting Agriculture Minister Hon. Robert Fagans lauded the government and the World Bank for the timely intervention to the farmers at this crucial time in the country.
Minister Fagans told the farmers that proper utilization of the donations will increase food production in targeted communities in their incomes and government revenue.
The release concluded that the items were purchased by the Ministry of Agriculture from the Emergency Budget of the STAR-Project at the request of the government of Liberia to the World Bank to help farmers to recover from the shock of COVID19.