The Farmers Union Network of Liberia (FUN) has embarked on building the capacities of several farmers’ organizations in the effective monitoring of family farms for the improvement of the country’s food security.
The training, supported by ROPPA (Reseau des Organizations Paysannes et de Produceteus de l’Afrique de l’ouest) in collaboration with CNCR (Conseil National de Consertations et de Cooperation des Ruraux) aims to educate participants to better understand the conditions, behaviors and strategies of West African family farms to support their transformation.
It brought together participants from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and local farming organizations from the vegetable, rice, fishery, and cassava sectors and was held recently in Mount-Barclay, Johnsonville Township, outside Monrovia.
ROPPA is a regional farmer platform, while CNCR is the farmer platform from Senegal.
Providing an overview at the start of the training on last Thursday, the National Coordinator of FUN, Julius Bass, said that it was important to monitor the output of the family farms because of its enormous contribution to the improvement of food security.
“Family farm is not a strange practice as it is associated with most farms in rural parts of the country. On the aggregate, it is family farms’ outputs that feed the country,” Bass noted. “Therefore it is very important to monitor, during every farming season, what is lacking in the country. This is why experts from the region are present to lead us to such process.”
Bass clarified that family farms should not only be limited to rice but all other food crops, adding that data gathered on family farms could be used by decision makers to craft policies and programs to move agriculture forward.
For her part, the President of FUN, Josephine Francis, stressed the need for Liberians to take seriously the production of food to end hunger.
“It is our responsibility as citizens to ensure that we feed ourselves. It is unfortunate that our government continues to spend huge sums of money yearly for rice imports when we have the potential to produce enough food. What we need to do to reduce the high cost of food importation is to get back to the soil and work harder”, she told the workshop participants.
“This must require a collective effort and sincere love for our respective countries, if we are going to end hunger and eradicate poverty, according to the sustainable development goal”, she emphasized.
Also speaking, the representative of ROPPA, André Tioro of Burkina Faso, said that his institution remains committed to supporting farmers’ organizations in the subregion.
“We need to understand the system of monitoring of family farms, if we are to transform the lives of subsistence farmers. This training will definitely equip members of various organizations to better relate to farmers”, he said.
The representative from Senegal, Yoro Thioyé, said there is the need for members of farmer organizations to acquire the skills in order to appropriately monitor family farms.
“There is a need that farmer organizations get properly organized to enable them understand the needs of the farmers. We are optimistic that the knowledge that we possess and that will be shared with you, will help our farmers”, he added.