Recently, a team of World Food program (WFP) and Samaritan’s Purse co-workers were greeted to a friendly welcome by farmers of the Gbuyah Swamp Project on the outskirts of Suakoko, Bong County.
It was food distribution day or, as one farmer put it, “rice pay day” for members who have achieved the required work output for one month in developing community assets (lowlands) under the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SHAD-P) in Bong County. Many of the nearly 90-strong farmer organization members were there in strength.
“This time around we, especially the farmers, have to work to succeed because help will not always come. Now that this help has come, we must do all we can to grow the food we eat,” Bong County Agriculture Coordinator, Kollie R. Nahn, said.
“What we need to work hard is motivation and encouragement and we see it right here in front of us with this rice, oil, and beans. I pledge to you today that we will not fail you our supporters”, stated Saydee J.M. Lincoln, the group’s manager, also a farmer.
Lauding the Government and people of Japan for financing the project, Lonnie Herring of WFP re-emphasized the Organization’s commitment to helping Liberia arrive safely at the 2030 zero hunger target by assisting and supporting smallholder producers within the framework of the Government’s development agenda. “The assets we help you create, the food you produce, the income you generate are all yours. None for WFP, Samaritan’s Purse or the Ministry of Agriculture, it’s all yours”, he assured them.
Lowland sites visited Thursday by WFP and Samaritan’s Purse included Gbarnga’s Millionaire Quarter, Dahn, Suakoko, Gbondoi, and SKT communities where rehabilitation of old lowland assets and creation of new ones were rapidly progressing.
Implemented through Samaritan’s Purse Liberia, a development and humanitarian NGO, the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SHAD-P) is funded by the Government of Japan to enhance agriculture and capacity building of smallholder producers, while aiming to support the Government’s strategies of fighting poverty and food insecurity through staple food production.
Overall ownership and supervision of this six-month project is with the Government of Liberia. The effort is also geared towards assisting rural women and youth from approximately 1,200 households to become sustainable farmers and gradually increasing access to improved farming inputs and agro-processing technologies among others.