LADA has been working with Dokodan since 2016 providing training for about 298 farmers in business management, post-harvest handling, and agro import, among others, said Thomas Gayeplu, CNFA/LADA Nimba Coordinator.
He said LADA also provided technical support to the Dokodan Farmers Cooperative during the development of the grant proposal and negotiated with a local bank to secure about US$120,000 to purchase 200 metric tons of paddy rice from Dokodan.
CNFA/LADA operates in three components, including agro dealers (providers of chemicals, seeds, fertilizers, tools, etc), processors and producers.
The farmers were very happy to see the tractor and expressed gratitude to the USAID and the people of the United States of America for the improvement of their cooperative.
“We extend many thanks to the USAID for the assistance to enhance the ability of the cooperative in the production of food,” said Jefferson Tokpah, chairman.
He said since 1989, “This is the first equipment to be owned by the Dokodan Farmers Cooperative. It has been easy to cultivate about 164 hectares under this cooperative. With this tractor, we will do our best to cultivate all the land and increase our productivity,” he added.
Attending the occasion was the Chief of Party (COP) of LADA/CNFA, USAID representatives, local authorities, among others. The newly elected District # 2 Representative Prince Tokpah was also in attendance.
The COP, William van Campen, praised the cooperative for their tireless work and said a good cooperative can provide services to their people.
He urged the leadership not to be self-centered, something that he said will break the cooperative down, and deprive the citizens of the chance to develop their community.
“We want the leadership to be very serious in handling this tractor and ensure that it benefits all the farmers,” he said.
Dr. Maurice Ogutu, the USAID representative, reaffirmed USAID’s commitment to helping farmers from subsistence to commercial farming.
He said the USAID will train the staff in handling, operating and repairing the equipment, together with other service training.
On behalf of the Superintendent of Nimba County, Joseph Tonlon hailed USAID for its many development initiatives in the county, including the ongoing municipal project in Sanniquellie, the rehabilitation of feeder roads, involvement in the agriculture sector, and many others.
He said the people of Nimba are very grateful for these gestures from the American people, and noted that the donation will enhance the ability of the farmers to produce enough food for the county and the country at large.
The Dokodan Farmers Cooperative was established in 1972, with a membership of over 300 persons. It is based in Gbadin Town on the Sanniquellie highway at the foot of Kitomo Mountain.