By Emmanuel Weedee-Conway
(Photo: Members of the farmers with disabilities at the training)
In a bid to enhance greater productivity in the agricultural sector and to conserve biodiversity, over 40 disabled farmers under the banner of the Mission for Hope for the Disabled (MHD) have been trained in new farming techniques.
The one-day training, which was held at the compound of MHD in Paynesville, was conducted by the National Action for Economic Empowerment and Development (NAFEED) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under its Green Climate Fund Small Grant Project (GCF-SG).
The program is intended to promote physically challenged (disabled) farmers’ participation in biodiversity conservation in rural communities.
Speaking to reporters following the training, the Program Manager of NAFEED, Madam Jenneh Korlison, noted that the program of NAFEED is intended to build the capacities of people living with disabilities in growing their crops and vegetables through organic approach, rather than using chemicals that tend to destroy their crops and post danger to humans.
According to her, the program is a means of helping farmers with disabilities make livelihood through a sustainable development plan.
“It is intended to help farmers make livelihood through sustainable means of the soil. We are having this training to educate farmers, especially the disabled, to learn new techniques, so that they will graduate from those poor practices of use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, which causes bio-diversity degradation,” she stated.
“Those chemicals that we use cause serious harm on the soil and the plants as well as us, humans. This training is all about educating the people in using local resources that are available in the environment such as the feces of pigs, cows, and others. This will, in fact, reduce production cost and disease outbreak,” she explained.
Madam Korlison said the organic way of farming is the ideal means of enhancing greater agricultural productivity in a sense that it creates a good environment for the ecosystem and helps the farmers to solve all production challenges.
“My message to Liberian farmers is that, they must prioritize the organic approach of farming because humanity is safe by this method. The organic pesticide can also be prepared from local resources as well,” she added.
In remarks, the Executive Director of MHD, Mr. Victor Wilson, indicated that the training provides great opportunity to disabled farmers through the acquisition of new knowledge.
Wilson stated that the training is an empowerment and sustainability plan for the disabled, who are already cultivating a farmland that was started by NAFEED.
“I want to appreciate NAFEED very greatly for the training. They are really putting into place their plan. Whatever we learn here will remain with us. We will be able to manage a farm which they have started,” he said.
Mr. Wilson then called on other well-meaning individuals and organizations to follow suit the good example of NAFEED by creating for them, an environment where they, too, can independently survive.
“We are not beggars when we are trained. When groups of disabled are together, they need the support of people out there so that they can be empowered,” the MHD head urged.
Madam Dedeh Morris, one of the participants at the training, lauded NAFEED for thinking about the disabled among its programs.
“This is very important to us, especially those with disabilities and most especially females. It will help us sustain ourselves. I want to call on other disabled to take advantage of every opportunity. They must put their hands to work and not just depend on handouts all the time. What you get in the street will not last forever, but what you learn will remain with you for good until you leave the face of this earth,” she cautioned.