BRAC Liberia under its Agriculture, Food Security and Livelihood (AFSL) program has ended a two-day capacity building workshop for government staffs from six counties in the agriculture sector.
The workshop focused on Pro-Resilience Action – PRO-ACT 2015: supporting the poor, food and nutrition insecure to react to crises and strengthen resilience in Liberia, which is a post Ebola two-year project funded by the European Union (EU) and is being implemented by BRAC Liberia.
The capacity building workshop comprises of two batches with a total of 52 participants, with one group held for the 24th and another on the 25th of July 2018.
The event was held at B-First Hotel 71, 20th street, Sinkor, Monrovia.
The meeting brought together a cross section of government officials from national to district level, including District Agriculture Officers, District Livestock Officers, SAPEC Extension Officers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspectors, District Nutrition Officers, and Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Inspectors among others.
The workshop’s facilitators were drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), BRAC International and the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI).
Topics focused on during the workshop included climate change, its effect on agriculture and adaptive measures, poultry and livestock management as a way of income generation for vulnerable and smallholder farmers, the importance of poultry and livestock rearing in Liberia, major diseases of poultry and livestock and their remedies, agriculture nutrition rich crops and vegetable; homestead gardening, how agri-nutrition can contribute to reduce malnutrition and government officials and NGO collaboration and access to information, among others.
Making welcoming remarks, BRAC Liberia Head of Human Resource and Training and now Acting Country Representative, Mr. Sylvanus V. Domah, welcomed the participants, urging them to tap into the expertise of the facilitators which will help them improve their already working skills.
Mr. Domah said BRAC Liberia is always open to working with the Liberian people as seen from its present activities across the country. He assured them of BRAC Liberia’s full commitment to working with the government of Liberia in ensuring the agriculture and other sectors improve to meet the “Pro-poor Agenda” of the government.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Regional Development, Research and Extension Cllr. Sayma C. Cephus, lauded BRAC Liberia for organizing such a workshop, which he described as very essential to the improvement of the skills and knowledge of those in the agriculture sector, which will help in the food production of the country and move the government’s “Pro-poor Agenda” forward.
According to Minister Cephus, the training is a model which will enhance the capacity of the participants to improve food production in the country, which is one of the main priorities of the Government of Liberia.
Furthered, he disclosed that the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture is working on a program which calls for the establishment of a farmer’s bank in the country.
He said with government officials’ capacity being built through BRAC workshop, the central government will provide subsidy to the bank and a vetting committee will be set-up through those presently been trained, which will help get farmers loans as well as helping them produce food on a large scale for self-sufficiency.
He then urged the participants to be focused during the workshop and learn new skills and methods of crop and livestock production as well as homestead gardening, which could benefit them in their various working capacities in the agriculture sector of Liberia.
Giving an overview of the workshop, BRAC International Agriculture Program Manager Mr. Md. Habibur Rahman Khan disclosed that the workshop was aimed at developing capacities of the government staffs; strengthening government officials and NGO collaboration, aligning the project’s activities with the government’s agriculture priority areas.
As part of the workshop, Mr. Khan stressed that strengthening comprehensive agricultural extension services to community people through government officials, which is primary to the growth of Liberia’s food and livestock production, is one of the objectives of BRAC Liberia. Further, he highlighted the overall activities of BRAC Liberia, especially the five key areas BRAC is engaged in presently: Agriculture and Food Security, Education, Micro Finance, Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents and Health.
Mr. Randolph R. Kolleh, an Agricultural Economist and Special Assistance to the Minister of Agriculture, made a presentation on climate-smart agriculture to foster production and food security;”
while Mr. Roland Varkpeh, Director of Animal Production at the Ministry of Agriculture, spoke on poultry and livestock rearing and their management; and the former field technician of CARI and now Coordinator of REAP, Mr. Darkpon Dolokelin, highlighted the importance of vegetables, nutrition and homestead garden during the two-day workshop.