The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) held a closing program at CARI, in Suakoko, Bong County for the Integrated Sustainable System of Rice Development project. The project, funded by the Government of Japan, comprised of over 1,000 beneficiaries from three districts in Bong and Lofa Counties, 60% of which were women. Farmers were provided with improved rice seeds, fertilizers and hand tools to increase their average yield potential. The project included the construction of infrastructures and the provision of agricultural equipment for project areas. In addition, a study tour with nine (9) nationals, including government officials and lead farmers traveled to Ghana to share their knowledge and experiences on intensive rice production and productivity.
Representing FAO, Agronomist Mr. Jobson Momo stated that FAO’s mandate is to support the Government of Liberia in ensuring food security and nutrition for the people of Liberia, which this project accomplished. He mentioned that this project was very special, because “it brought in a new methodology and technology that changed what was being done in the past”. He applauded the partners for their continued support and efforts in helping to achieve sustainable rice development.
The MOA, represented by Project Coordinator Mr. Victor Kolleh thanked the partners for their continued support and urged them to continue their efforts in helping farmers achieve sustainable yield and agro-development. He emphasized the importance of actively continuing to work with farmers and provide them further support to continue witnessing positive results.
Honorable Ayoubah L. Fofana, Assistant Minister for Coordination and Communal Farming, Ministry of Internal Affairs, stated the importance of negotiating and working with partners like FAO to make Liberia self-sufficient in local food production.
He stressed the significance of communal farming, which he said, “could not be achieved without community members and leader’s involvement and support”.
He thanked FAO for giving the Ministry of Internal Affairs special recognition and continuing the mandate of working to make Liberia self-sufficient in food production.
To date, more than 21.5 hectares (ha) have been harvested in Lofa County, for a production of 68.65 MT of paddy, an average yield of 3.2 t/ha. This represents a 167% increase, compared to the 1.2MT/ha of the county’s average rice yield.
The farmers gave appreciation to all the partners, and stressed how important it was to be recognized and included in the project given their location. They look forward to future implementations and projects like these to continue to feed the people of Liberia.