The Assistant Secretary General of the Liberian National Red Cross Society, Boweh Bauduae, has said that food security remains critical to sustainable economic development in Liberia, especially in the rural parts of the country. He noted that most people in Liberia depend on small-scale farming as the primary source of their livelihoods in fighting poverty and food insecurity.
Mr. Bauduae said improving agricultural productivity is essential to meeting the increasing food demands of Liberians, especially for rice, the nation’s primary staple. However, he was swift to recommend that the agricultural production systems of the country need to be intensified sustainably and with greater integration across key sectors.
Speaking during the official harvest of 20 acres of rice from a farm initiated by the Bomi Chapter of the Red Cross, the LNRCS assistant Secretary General said that the agricultural production systems of local farmers needed to be intensified sustainably and with greater integration across key sectors. The farm contains both rice and cassava.
He noted that Food Security remains critical to sustainable economic development in rural Liberia. He noted that most people depend on small-scale farming as the primary source of their livelihoods in fighting poverty and food insecurity.
“This 20-acre rice and cassava farm is located in Wilson Town near Tubmanburg, Bomi County. Wilson Town is a small but densely populated municipality who along with other nearby communities in remote Bomi, have had their food security become critical at times when people were struggling to feed their families, especially with rice,”
“It is against this background that the Liberian Red Cross has provided and is still in the process of providing farming input such as tools, seeds, agro chemicals and technical services to vulnerable farmers in rural communities to engage in food production. The harvesting of this rice farm showcased the great progress the Red Cross has made in the area of food security in rural Liberia.” Mr. Bauduae said.
The LNRCS Assistant boss noted that the Red Cross was now taking practical steps by directly engaging into farming activities because according to him improving agricultural productivity is essential to meet the increasing food demand especially in rural Liberia.
He said the initiative by the Bomi chapter comes as a result of the resolution adapted in 2010 by the Board of general Assembly for each chapter to venture into agro activities by cultivating at least 20-acres of farm land each year.
Venturing into agriculture Mr. Baudua said is also a step in line with the LNRCS local resource mobilization strategies to successfully provide to meet the desperate need of people in need.
He lauded the Bomi Chapter for the bold step and asked other chapters to follow the good example.
This is the second time the Bomi Chapter has taken practical steps beyond the regular support to local farmers in support of Food Security in the County. According to the field officer of the Chapter Zinnah Quaye, the initiative was meant to help alleviate the suffering of the people in the rural area.
Mr. Quaye said the chapter has set up three major priorities for the proceeds from the farm which include: the empowerment of community farmers through the distribution of seeds for the next farming season, the feeding of the community for improved health and nourishment, and for commercialization of harvested crops to underwrite other expenses at the chapter level.
The harvesting of the rice farm in Wilson Town near Tubmanburg, Bomi County displayed the progress the Red Cross is making in the area of food security in rural Liberia.
Wilson Town is a small but densely populated community that shares the similar problem of food insecurity with other remote towns and villages across Liberia.
The people in Wilson Town over the years have been heavily dependent on imported rice (which has been sold to them at a high cost) for survival, but that approach was not adequate to alleviate their suffering from food insecurity.
The community was already into farming the likes of cassava, oil palm, rice, from backyard gardens as well as coal mining for their own economic sustainability. But the community ventures were at a low scale and could not yield sufficiently until the Liberian Red Cross pushed for a strong partnership.