The Liberia National Police says it has harvested a 75-acre rice-farming project in Foya, Lofa County. According to Director C. Clarence Massaquoi, the LNP has for a couple of years now been engaged in running the rice farm project, located in Kpang Banin Town in Foya District, Lofa County.
“When you took office you instructed us (Liberians) to go back to the soil. So in adherence to your instruction we decided to engage in this project,” Director Massaquoi said.
He said the project is intended to ensure institutional self-sufficiency in terms of food security.
Director Massaquoi said produce from the farm will feed police recruits at the National Police Training Academy, the police elite forces – the Emergency Response Unit (ERU)\ and the Police Support Unit (PSU), among others.
Receiving five bags of the rice harvested from the LNP farm, delivered last Friday by Police Director Chris Massaquoi and his principal deputies, as her gift for the New Year, President Sirleaf praised the LNP for its venture into agricultural activities while ensuring law and order in the country.
“Let me commend you all. I think it is a great response to a national need,” the President said as she underscored the importance of agriculture to Liberia’s development process. “You are doing well in keeping with the new policy, which is the agenda and strategy of government, so we want to applaud you.”
President Sirleaf said in realization of this fact, she has urged citizens to go back to the soil, and that government is also shifting more attention to agriculture production.
She also praised the LNP for its strides in maintaining law and order across the country.
The harvest, According to Sam Collins, public affairs officer for the LNP, amounts to 400 bags of rice. This planting season, the LNP aims to expand the rice to 150 acres – twice the size of the existing farm – with land given by the locals in the area.
When asked about the plight of other farmers in Lofa, whose plentiful rice harvests remain stranded on their farms due to lack of a way to move them to market, Collins said, “Absolutely, we are willing to help. The same way we bring our harvest to town, we could help other farmers there as well.”
For his part Vice President Joseph Boakai lauded the LNP for its involvement in food production, stressing that it will go a long way in helping the police to feed officers in training and other staffers in the employ of the police.
He said food production was one of the best ways out of poverty and to jumpstart the Liberian economy.
VP Boakai said he was happy to see the police getting involved in extra activities apart from its statutory responsibility, and called on other institutions in and out of government to see food production as a priority in moving the country from dependency on imported food.
“I’m gratified for what the police have done in Lofa County by producing rice, and hope this would continue to make the country self-sufficient in food production,” VP Boakai said.