Mr. Mohammed Kamara, a Liberian farmer and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Agriculture Infrastructure and Investment Company (AIIC) in Foya, Lofa County, says Liberia is experiencing a huge importation of rice, because the government is not providing support to inspire farmers.
“Liberians consume millions of metric tons of rice every year, with a significant portion of its consumption sourced from imports; so the government needs to go back to the policies of the 60s and 70s when farmers were given loans to improve their farming activities,” Mr. Kamara said.
Kamara told the Daily Observer recently in Foya, Lofa County, that he has cultivated 150 acres of upland rice with a high premium variety and has 78 metric tons of milled rice in his warehouse, “because my dream is to reduce the importation of Asian and European rice in the country, but only if I can get the needed funding.”
Mr. Kamara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Liberia and is the owner of the AIIC, which is in business of rice farming. His farm is considered to be the largest commercial rice farm by land size in the county, situated on 150 acres of land, and employs more than 100 locals.
“I want to battle the importation of rice, but with the traditional shifting cultivation method still being used in Liberia, it is a difficult war to fight,” he said.
“I appreciate engaging the collective through community involvement. This has actually inspired AIIC to set up a few initiatives, such as giving seeds to farmers for seed multiplication,” Mr. Kamara added.
He told the Daily Observer that he has been contracted by the World Food Program (WFP) to supply 48 metric tons of rice as part of its school feeding program for this academic year.
“In the coming months, WFP will also be contracting my organization to provide 1,000 metric tons of rice for its school feeding program in Lofa County,” Mr. Kamara said.
“I want us Liberians to regain our pre-war status by eating our traditional rice [country rice], because it is organic; meaning it is nutritious,” he said.
He then used the occasion to commend the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the implementing partners for the support.
Mr. Kamara lauded the China-Liberia Agricultural Technology Cooperation Project, based at China-Liberia Agriculture Demonstration Center in Suakoko, Bong County, for the technical and material support to his organization.
He said that China-Liberia Agricultural Technology Cooperation Project provided 180kg of upland rice seeds and planting process training, weeding, fertilizer application and pest and disease control for farmers in order to have a good yield.