Authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) have embarked on programs that would identify how much resources the country will need to become self-sufficient in food production.
Agriculture Minister Mogana Flomo informed the Daily Observer recently during a rice mill commissioning ceremony in Nimba County that the program, if sustained, will make the country food self-sufficient.
Flomo said although efforts have been made by government and partners over the years to improve agriculture, there is still a need for the country to heavily invest in the sector.
He said Liberia has the potential to feed itself within the next 4 years, provided the government contributes more funding.
“There are technicians who are currently working to identify what it will take to improve the country’s food security through agricultural activity. Food security is the major goal under the Pro-poor agenda to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and to make the country self-reliant in food. This is why we are strategizing ways to increase the production of crops, especially in the cassava and rice value chains,” Flomo said in a Daily Observer interview.
He said in the next two weeks, his administration will officially inform the country on how much it will cost the government to further invest in the agriculture sector.
Livestock and vegetable productions, according to Minister Flomo, are also key areas that government has prioritized to enhance the country’s food production.
He however said that there are lots of opportunities unfolding in the agriculture sector and that they aim to build the capacity of processors and smallholder farmers in the rice value chains, including the provision of rice mills to processors in Nimba County and those in the Southeast.
“With support from our international partners, we have provided four rice mills to the Southeast and two integrated industrial rice mills are also operating in Nimba County by farmers’ cooperatives,” Flomo said.
He said that partners have also procured two other rice mills for farmers in Lofa County.
According to him, all of these efforts are meant to ensure that the country becomes food self-sufficient. He said government will support smallholder farmers to produce more rice to supply these processing plants, with a view to making available more processed rice on the local market, to reduce importing the commodity,” Minister Flomo said.
Meanwhile, he has at the same time disclosed that plans are underway to partner with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, to recruit qualified youth to provide extension services to farmers across the country. The Ministry is also working with the Central Agriculture Research Institute in Gbarnga, Bong County, to identify those needed technologies that can improve farmers’ yield.
“We cannot improve agriculture when there are limited extension services for farmers. Therefore, we intend to recruit more young people who will be assigned in the various counties as extension officers,” Flomo said.