The Community of Hope Agriculture Project in collaboration with other partners in the rice sector of Liberia has begun developing a roadmap for a steady supply of Liberian rice to the local market.
The purpose of developing such roadmap is to ensure that there is sufficient locally milled rice in the country. This is also geared towards the production of more food and to reduce hunger in the country.
In a telephone conversation with the executive director of CHAP, Rev. Robert Bimba, he acknowledged that the organization in collaboration with its partners has organized a group called the Liberia Rice Business Group (LRBG).
The group, according to him, will take the entire rice sector of the country to another level, and strongly believes that such an initiative cannot be carried out by government alone, adding that the private sector also has a role to play, specifically Liberians.
‘‘Over the years, we have had people coming to us telling us what to do. We no longer need an expert to come from elsewhere to teach us how to wash our hands,’’ Rev. Bimba stated.
He said it is clear that the problem in the country has been identified by the initiative, and as such, it is about time that Liberians come together to produce their own food.
Rev. Bimba also disclosed that CHAP is conducting assessments in various counties this week, to see where they can start production immediately, noting that there are key counties to start with, namely: Lofa, Bong, Nimba and River Gee. He said the group has identified what these areas have and what they need for the success of the project.
‘‘We are also working with other actors like Global Agro, a group which works on mechanization,’’ he added.
The CHAP executive director revealed that the group has also have developed a document to be presented to the Liberian Government advising it on which way to go to be successful in the agriculture sector of the country.
‘‘This document will also point out those major challenges in the agriculture sector and what could be the way forward in the rice sector,’’ he noted.
Rev. Bimba frowned on previous governments stating that the US$2 million spent per annum just on subsidizing projects and the US$200 million spent on the importation of rice can be invested in the LRBG initiative which, according to him, will also provide job opportunities for young people in the country.
CHAP currently has four new milling machines that have the capacity of producing a minimum of 8 metric tons a day, according to Rev. Bimba.
He also disclosed that CHAP has profound expertise in the Liberian rice sector. It is the focal point organization on SRI in Liberia with support from IFAD, the World Bank, CNS-Riz (Mali), SRI-Rice (Cornell University, USA), and Abide in the Vine Fellowship Owego, NY, USA, he said.
CHAP was founded by Apostle James M. Bimba and Abide in Vine Fellowship Liberia. According to Rev. Bimba, the organization has made significant impact in the local, national, and international levels in the agriculture and WASH sector of Liberia over the years. It has implemented several projects successfully for the Ministry of Agriculture, West Africa Productivity Program WAAPP/World Bank, WHH, and UNFAO.
CHAP also has the following priority areas: Livelihood and Agriculture, Health & Hygiene, Education, Community Mobilization, SRI Program, capacity building training, Village Savings and Loan Program, and Value Chain among others.