Several residents from five communities within Montserrado County have received support from Agro Tech Liberia to engage in urban home farming initiatives in an effort to improve their households food and nutrition security.
The communities include Coca-Cola factory, Fendell community, Bernard Farm, Duport Road, Pipeline community and ELWA Community.
Agro Tech Liberia, local NGO that focuses on empowering youths in agriculture, provided seedlings of collard greens, eggplant and seeds of okra, cucumber, watermelon and water greens for approximately 100 residents, majority of who are young people, to start planting during this farming season.
Speaking to reporters during the distribution exercise, Jonathan S. Stewart, lead campaigner of the organization, said that this is his organization’s way of encouraging Liberians, mainly the youth, to go back to the soil and grow what they eat in urban settlements.
He disclosed that in the coming weeks there will be additional seedlings for distribution to home farmers and non-farming households within the county.
“We strongly believe that we are at a crucial time with our national food security, a time of emergency that requires everyone taking action to avoid this creeping hunger pandemic,” he said.
According to him there are reports that Liberia is amongst the 27 countries identified by FAO as countries on the frontline of the impending hunger pandemic, “meaning the country will have to strengthen food production system by increasing local production, especially through home farming, which has the potential to improve household nutrition and income”,
He then called on the government through the Ministry of Agriculture to support such initiative, as it has the potential to inspire the whole nation in produce its own food.
“We want the ministry to empower youth who are striving to promote zero hunger in Liberia by exposing them to opportunities that can enhance their food security initiatives,” he said.
He told reporters that he was thankful to individuals who are helping his organization’s initiative.
“The assistance of well-meaning individuals is very much helpful in making the project successful,” he said.“
Meanwhile beneficiaries of the program have thanked Agro Tech for the support and have called on the government to support the initiative.
Neresha Mylemon, a professional volunteer with the organization and a graduate of the University of Liberia College of Agriculture, disclosed that through Agro Tech Liberia, she has been able to acquire more training and practical skills on climate smart agriculture and agribusiness management skills. “Agro Tech Liberia is a vehicle that can drive youth’s involvement and participation in the achievement of zero hunger in Liberia,” she explained.
Agro Tech Liberia is a youth agricultural and environmental organization working with youth on food security issues and environmental consciousness in Liberia. It serves as a platform where youth and agriculture students and graduates are mentored in practical agriculture and coached in agribusiness development skills. The organization’s mission is to make Liberia food self-sufficient through the direct participation of youth as stakeholders in the national food systems. The organization, under its emergency food security initiative, conducted two online trainings on home farming (also known as backyard gardening) and vegetable production in May and June of this year as a way to enhance food security during the COVID-19 disruptions.