In continuation of efforts to build the capacity of several agribusinesses in Liberia for the improvement of the country’s food security, the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), last Thursday delivered a high capacity generator (80kva) to the Kpodo Farmers Cooperative in Zayglay, Nimba County.
The generator is part of other agro equipment and machinery, including power tillers and integrated rice mills that LADA is procuring under its matching grant fund that will upgrade the processing capacity of cooperatives to produce 10 metric tons (200 50kg bags) of rice daily to meet the increasing local market demand for processed rice.
Founded in May 31, 1981 by a group of farmers in Zayglay, Nimba County, Kpodo has grown into a diversified aggregation and processing company active in the rice, cassava, cocoa and vegetable value chains. The cooperative is comprised of men and women and is divided into 6 sub-groups, by communities and farming groups.
LADA, a ‘Feed the Future’ United States Government initiative, has partnered with Kpodo and other cooperatives to increase the production of rice to help reduce rice imports in Liberia. The cooperative supplies clean processed rice to the World Food Program (WFP) for school feeding as well as to the Liberian government.
LADA’s Nimba County Coordinator, Thomas Gayeplue, told 100 smallholder farmers last Thursday in the village of Zayglay, during the generator delivery, that “the generator will serve as a power supply to enable the processing plant to produce enough rice for the market. It is a good will of the people and government of America to ensure that your current processing capacity is upgraded to increase the production of rice.”
He challenged the farmers to cultivate larger farms to constantly supply the plant, adding: “We want you to work harder to expand production for a reliable and stable rice market. You are also to receive a rice mill shortly that will upgrade your processing capacity.”
The chairman of the Kpodo Farmers Cooperative, Peter Sarkpeder, said that members of the cooperative were thankful to the government and people of America for the donation. Sarkpeder stated that with their level of involvement in rice cultivation, residents in and around Zayglay are no longer depending on imported rice.
“With this generator, we are challenged to grow more rice to supply the market. Our cooperative produced the majority of the paddy rice from 64.1 hectares lowland rice field. We also buy paddy rice by partnering with over 300 smallholder rice farmers in 40 communities in Nimba County. Therefore, we are hopeful that the increased assistance provided by LADA through USAID will be used for the intended purpose,” he said.