-BRAC Liberia holds daylong agriculture fair
The Director General of the Central for Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Dr. Marcus Jones, has called on Liberians to return to the soil, if the country must feed itself again as in the past.
He said that the citizens getting back to the soil will help in the production of more food to sustain the living conditions of families.
Dr. Jones added that it is a disgrace for the country to continue importing food when its citizens are able to produce more food.
He made these remarks on last Friday, August 17 at the end of a day-long agriculture fair held in Monrovia. The fair was organized by BRAC Liberia under its Agriculture, Food Security and Livelihood (AFSL) program under the Pro-Resilience Action (PRO-ACT) 2015, supporting the poor, food and nutrition insecure to react to crises and strengthen resilience in Liberia sponsored by the European Union.
Also speaking was Agriculture Minister, Dr. Mogana Flomo who blamed the situation of food insecurity in Liberia as unwillingness on the part of many Liberians to return to the soil and engage in massive food production, something he said the Government is seriously considering.
According to Dr. Mogana, the government has set aside a budget to increase the production of rice in Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties. He said the plan will be implemented very shortly as one of the main focus of the present government under its Pro-Poor Agenda.
Minister Flomo mentioned that the importation of food and other food items by Liberia has become so common and is causing some health problems as well as increasing the cost to the livelihood of the ordinary people who cannot afford to buy such imported food items.
He then urged the farmers organizations to remain committed and ensure accountability in the implementation of the various farm projects to improve their food production and nutrition.
Earlier, BRAC-Liberia Country Representative, Mainuddin Ahmed disclosed that the BRAC project is aimed at empowering poor and vulnerable households through agriculture for self-reliance.
Mr. Ahmed said the fair was also intended for beneficiaries of the PRO-ACT-2015 project to showcase their products and encourage agricultural activities in the country.
He mentioned that BRAC Liberia, under its Agriculture, Food Security and Livelihood (AFSL) program, is presently implementing its project in six counties which is benefiting thousands of dwellers.
Ahmed said that BRAC is fully committed to working with Liberians under its various projects, as seen from its existence since 2008, which have impacted the livelihood of thousands of citizens.
Mr. Ahmed pointed out that BRAC was founded in Bangladesh since 1972 and started operations in Liberia since 2008 with thematic areas in Health, Agriculture, Microfinance, Adolescent and Women Empowerment, and Enterprise Development.
“In Liberia, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), CARI and other international organizations to implement the project in six counties, including Margibi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, Bomi and Grand Cape mount,” he said.
He said his organization, which is the number one NGO in the world, is working with poor and vulnerable households in helping to develop their human capacity in the agriculture, food production, education, health, adolescent empowerment, microfinance through its various donors including UNICEF, USAID, UKAID and others, as EU remains BRAC-Liberia’s longtime partner.
He reassured the organization full commitment of working with the Government in ensuring that agriculture and other sectors improve to meet the government’s pro-poor agenda, noting that his organization is always open to working with the people as seen from its present activities across the country.
Paynesville City Mayor, Pam Belcher-Taylor said that the City Corporation in collaboration with Vegetable Sellers Association is launching a pilot vegetable farm at the Omega Market in Paynesville.
Mayor Taylor thanked BRAC-Liberia for the Agriculture Fair, describing agriculture as a means of creating jobs, improving nutrition and providing food for households across the country.
She however assured BRAC of forging partnership with the PCC to ensure that food production increases in the country.
At the end of the agriculture fair, three distinct farmers under the European Union from Sinji, Grand Cape Mount County, Paynesville north and Airport areas received three separately awards for their outstanding performance over the project period.
The farmers assured BRAC and EU of sustaining the project.
The well-organized agriculture fair helped farmers to showcase their farm produce including, fruits, vegetables, cassava, rice, beans, potatoes, gari, pepper, better bulbs, and also live animals like goats, sheep, chicken and eggs, pigs which were on sale at the ceremony.