‘No Worry for Job As Long As I Till the Soil’

4
1009
Freeman Kollie at the lettuce section of his 5-acre farm. "Lettuce is one of the money-making vegetables in Liberia."

— Freeman Kollie, a vegetable farmer who helps other farmers scale up beyond subsistence operations

Freeman Kollie, a graduate from the college of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Liberia (UL) is developing 5 acres of land with vegetables to sustain his family as well as assisting several smallholder farmers with farm inputs to improve their crops production.

Located in Bong Mines community, Fuamah District, Bong County Kollie is growing vegetables and providing extension services to farmers with meager resources in four counties, including Bong, Nimba, Margibi and Montserrado.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer recently, Kollie stressed that agriculture is the way forward for the Liberian economy and so there is a need that more of the citizens invest in the sector.

“I graduated with skills in agriculture from the U.L in 2015 and, since then, I have gained self-employment in the agricultural sector,” he said.

“There is a perception that many students graduating from the schools of agriculture in Liberia end up not venturing into the informal sector of agriculture. The expectations of the students are high and the government is doing nothing to empower them after graduation,” Kollie added.

The UL agriculture graduate has 5 years of experience in working with non-governmental organizations (NGO) as an extension officer.

He said extension services are poor in Liberia, causing many smallholder farmers to continue farming at subsistence level.

According to him, government must improve on agriculture extension by allotting more money in the budget for agriculture so that more students acquiring knowledge in the field of agriculture can work as extension agents.

This farming season, Kollie has cultivated vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and tomatoes that are of demand on the local market. According to him, agriculture is a profitable venture that Liberians need to prioritize.

Freeman has harvested some hot pepper, packaged in 25 kg bags for sale on the local market.

“I currently work with farmers in the targeted counties, providing them with seeds and fertilizers to improve their crops production. The supported farmers give me in return half of the produce for the assistance rendered them,” he explained.

Kollie, 37, began assisting the farmers after his contract ended with an NGO in 2017 and has found it very rewarding. He said the agriculture sector has the potential to absorb more young people for employment but it is unfortunate that the youths lack interest.

“We can’t continue to rely on food imports as a country every year. The youths must think about investing in the sector to enable us reduce food imports,” he stated.

“I have acquired properties only by engaging in to agriculture and am now supporting my three children to obtain quality education. I have no worry for a job as long as I continue to till the soil,” he added.

Despite, Kollie’s achievements, he outlined some challenges confronting his farming venture which include lack of logistics to reach the several farmers benefiting his initiative. To address these challenges, he plans to set up an NGO to scale up the capacity he needs to assist other farmers through extension services.

4 COMMENTS

  1. That is not the food you eat every day?

    I have solved our rice, corn, etc, farming problems and also have a very good industrial economic plan that will immediately encourage lots of people to produce more and export.
    The first phase was done very successfully. The town, people are asking me to go back and expend it.
    I am currently developing the machines to massively push productivity up.
    I believe in the free MarketEconomy where the market or farmers determine the prices for their goods.
    I do not believe in cheap things; it leads you to backwardness. Farmers should carry their prices up so they get out off slavery and encourage others to work better.
    My job is to provide the engineering tools to accomplish that.
    Think right and work smarter.

    • Very interesting, Engineer Peter Curran! But in order to get country rice price down (competitively) to the level of cheap, poor-quality tariff-free imported rice, I suspect that too much will have to be accomplished in a very short time, as far as the engineering is concerned. Will free-market ideas be enough? Shouldn’t the local farmers be protected? At least, let the imported rice not be tariff-free. I think that’s part of the freedom. And why is the government depriving itself of the needed revenues from the rice tariff??? I honestly don’t get it, and I figure the local farmers are worse off for it…

  2. Good job Kollie! Agriculture is a good money-making business if you have the skills on how to grow crops. You should try growing onion too – it will be very profitable. Good luck!!

  3. Keep up the hard work, Mr. Kollie. Agricultural production has gained importance recently because of climate change and food security. The exponetial increase in Liberia’s urban population leads to an increased demand for food. I hope a lot of people can go to the soil and stop complaining about high price of rice on the Liberian market.

Leave a Reply to Sr. Engineer, Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator 2017-Independent Candidate) Cancel reply