Rural Farmers Cry for Help in Bassa

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A group of over 300 farmers, under the banner of the United Rural Farmers of Liberia, located in Wee Statutory District, Electoral District # 4, Grand Bassa County, has called on Rep. Jeh Byron Brown, the Ministry of Agriculture and agriculture related NGOs to help with tools and seeds.
The group also called for the support of smallholder farmers with microcredit.
This, according to the farmers, would help boost agriculture, which is gradually collapsing in the region because of the lack of support.
Jonah Brown, an aged farmer told the Daily Observer over the weekend that the lack of support for farming from the government, including the Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus, contributes to food insecurity in the country.
Mr. Brown made the assertion during a program marking the formal turnover of an ambulance, valued at about US$25,000.
The ceremony was held in Compound #3, Wee Statutory District.
He disclosed that last week they developed an advocacy slogan “Tackling Bottlenecks to the Development of Rural Agriculture in Grand Bassa,” which was subsequently launched with the presence of Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and Rep. Jeh Byron Brown – but none of them paid heed to their plight.
Farmer Amos Weedee said the challenges he and his colleagues are facing in that part of the county would lead to death if there are no tools and seeds for farming. He named some of the major needy tools as shovels, diggers, and cutlasses while the seeds include rice and cassava.
Another farmer, Augustine Sarwee, said there are plans to encourage the youth to engage in agribusiness since it is one of the areas that helps to reduce the unemployment rate.
But, he said, with the lack of support, he is afraid to encourage the youth to venture in that sector.
Sarwee called on the county’s Caucus, local authorities and the central government to support farmers across the country.
He said access to loans by smallholder farmers would help improve agribusiness, which is the bedrock of the nation.
“The inadequate logistics and lack of seeds are hindering the progress of agribusiness in the county.
“Government must subsidize farm inputs to enable farmers acquire the tools to contribute their quota to the nation’s development,” he said.
A senior staff at the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC), who preferred not to be named, has observed that rural agriculture is virtually collapsing in the region due to government’s lack of support.
The LAC official maintained that government must help with tools and seeds to revive rural agriculture, adding that women farmers could have increased their farm yields by 20 to 30 percent if they had access to resources.
A staffer at the Agriculture Ministry who also did not want to be named reiterated government’s commitment to providing farmers with more input devices to enable them discharge their duties to the nation.
He said he would convey the farmers’ concerns for proper action to ensure they get seeds as well as the necessary equipment that will motivate them to do their best.
He intoned that the inability of some farmers to settle debt from the input devices provided is making it difficult for government to purchase more to aid other farmers.

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