The Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), in collaboration with Fabrar Liberia and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), over the weekend launched the first harvest of an urban rice project in Duport Road, Paynesville.
The urban rice project, owned by PCC with support from Fabrar Liberia and UNMIL, aims at enhancing urban agriculture in Paynesville City by addressing youth unemployment and sustaining food security for vulnerable households.
Giving an overview of the project, the Founder and Senior Partner of Fabrar, Janine Cooper, stated that the City of Paynesville possessed vast swampland that can be used to create more jobs for unemployed youth and women.
“Considering the high level unemployment among the youth in the city, the former mayor of Paynesville, Cyvette Gibson, wrote a proposal to the Deputy SRSG of UNMIL to use swampland for agriculture purposes in the city. The Deputy SRSG saw that the proposal was good and promised to make funding available.
She said that the quick impact project, managed by FABRAR Liberia Inc. under UNMIL, lasted for 6 months.
“We intended to cultivate 50 hectares, but succeed with 20 hectares with support from some community members,” Cooper stated.
Mr. Mulbah Jackollie, from SAMJAC Agro industry, is providing technical services to the project. “We are here recruiting local farmers, training and working with them to produce rice,” he said. “We also provide assistance to them with fertilizer and provided trained them in vegetables farming… to farmers from Zubah town community.
“Even though we had some challenges with getting full cooperation from community dwellers. We also recruited farmers from other communities to ensure that the project is successful. We have trained about two hundred people.
“Following a town meeting with residents of Zubah town, the training of farmers began with this community. We expected the youth to come and provide services and get paid, but we did not get,” Jackollie noted.
According to him, the training has been in different stages and, according to him, most of the young people are not willing to stay.
Meanwhile, following the harvest on the Duport road, a team of local farmers and guests toured the facilities of Fabrar in Kakata, Margibi County. During the tour, the operating manager at Fabrar Liberia, Whykies B. Mentee, said the company is engaged in the milling and processing of seed rice and selling to consumers.
“We buy from the farmers because we do not have [our own] farm, but plans are on the way to get our own farm.”
FABRAR has the largest rice processing center in Liberia and, according to him, has the capacity to produce 30 metric tons of rice per day, depending the availability of the rice.
He however encouraged local farmers to bring any quantity of rice as Fabrar is capable of processing in huge quantity.