With funding from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and the African Development Fund (ADF), the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Small-holder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization (SAPEC) Project of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), has embarked on the rehabilitation and/or construction of 193 km of farm to market roads in Grand Gedeh (32km), Grand Kru (28km), River Gee (34.7km), Maryland (32.5km), Sinoe (24.3km) and Rivercess (43.5km) counties.
The project is valued at over US$8,000,000.
As part of that effort, a groundbreaking ceremony for the rehabilitation of 34.7 km of farm to market roads in River Gee County was recently held in Fish Town (the county seat). The road rehabilitation project, when completed, will link several towns and villages with Fish Town.
Addressing residents during the ground breaking ceremony recently in Fish Town, the Coordinator of SAPEC, William K.C. Kawalawu, said that the project seeks to reduce rural poverty and household food insecurity by increasing, on a sustainable basis, the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs, particularly women, youths and the physically-challenged.
“The MOA has long focused on production. But this time around the Ministry is also promoting value addition and marketing, so as to enhance the market competitiveness of small-holder farm products and family income. To make this value chain approach effective, we are constructing and/or rehabilitating farm to market roads and several processing facilities in twelve of the fifteen counties,” Kawalawu said.
He said that the project has constructed and equipped six cassava processing hubs in Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Bassa and Sinoe counties. Cassava processing equipment installed at these facilities include, but are not limited to, hammer mills, graters, flash dryers with screw feeders, peelers, pulverizers, and generators. “Four complete sets of combined rice mills, spare parts and generators are being cleared from the Freeport of Monrovia for installation at rice processing hubs, under the AfDB funded Agriculture Sector Rehabilitation Project in Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland counties,” he informed the Daily Observer in Fish Town.
Kawalawu also added that road rehabilitation works are ongoing in Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and River Cess counties. Preparations are underway to commence work in Grand Kru and Maryland counties.
Meanwhile, the SEPEC coordinator has challenged locals in the project targeted counties to take ownership of the project.
Making remarks, the Administrative Assistant to River Gee County Superintendent D. Godfred Weah extolled the government and partners for the project and emphasized that River Gee is one of the southeastern counties that is in dire need of development.
Weah revealed that the county’s administration was very pleased with the quality of work being done by CHICO, which is undertaking the road construction in Fish Town and Harper road, adding that the citizens are confident that the quality of work will be replicated in the implementation of the 34.7km contract.
Prior to the ground breaking in River Gee, the team comprising SAPEC Coordinator Kawalawu; the Director of Feeder Roads at the Ministry of Public Works, Alibaba Kpakolo; and SAPEC Project Engineer Athelstan H. Tambah also visited and assessed several other projects and facilities.