In order to increase agricultural information to local farmers for improvement of food security in Liberia, the United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development (USAID FED) has entered into a partnership with four community radio stations.
The community radio stations are Super Bongese in Bong, Radio Kergheamahn in Nimba, Radio Tamba Taylor in Lofa and Lacsa Radio in Grand Bassa Counties respectively.
The occasion organized by the extension and communication department of USAID FED was held on Friday, May 23 at a local hotel in Monrovia. It was attended by stakeholders in the Agricultural sector, members of the media and local farmers.
Several presentations were made at the program which include, MoA’s role in strengthening agriculture, with emphasis on the Liberian media, reporting on agricultural issues, farmers access to credit and among others.
Speaking at the ceremony, the extension specialist of USAID FED, Doe Adovor, explained that his institution’s partnership with the four community radio stations is intended to enhance food security in Liberia, through the dissemination of information to farmers.
He said that USAID FED has provided four laptops, finances and other items to the four stations to enhance their works.
According to him, the partnership was important because it will strengthen relationship with local farmers where USAIDFED program is being implemented.
He named Bong, Grand Bassa, Nimba, Lofa and Montserrado counties as places that his institution is supporting farmers in rice, cassava, and vegetable and livestock productions.
In a power-point presentation, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Charles McClain explained that the mandate of his Ministry is to ensure that farmers in the country are given all necessary opportunities to engage in agriculture in order to boost the country’s economy.
He said that it was important for the Liberian media to exert more effort in reporting on the sector to erase the notion by some Liberians that nothing is done by government and partners to improve the level of agricultural production in the country.
“There is a whole lot happening in the sector but the information is not getting to the public. We want to encourage the press to reach out for information about the sector,” he said.
He emphasized that this was important to help improve the level of food production in the country.
“Food security is paramount to the Agenda for Transformation and as such the media plays a very important role in informing Liberians to get involved by investing in agriculture,” he stated.
According to Dr. McClain, though the government lacks all the funding for revamping the sector, it is, however, indicated that the contributions of international partners like USAID FED and others are greatly helping to restore the sector.
He said that the MoA has created its communication strategy to reach information to local farmers through radio programs.
The MoA’s Deputy Minister disclosed plan to work with many community radio stations across the country to promote the massages to rural people.
Speaking earlier, USAID FED communication specialist, Nicolas Parkinson urged the press to report on Agriculture in order to improve the lives of Liberian farmers.
“There are so many opportunities unfolding in the country that could help change the lives of farmers positively. Therefore, journalists must communicate these opportunities to help the farmers,” he said.
He mentioned that policies such as the lifting of tariff on agriculture products and the purchasing of produce locally by government are needed information that would help farmers, if they were informed.
Meanwhile, Liberian journalists attending the program have vowed to exert every effort in reaching information about Agriculture to local farmers.
They called on the government and its partners to build their capacities to reach farmers in the country.
The Liberian journalists, who disclosed plans to form a network of agricultural reporters, said that the lack of logistics to travel from one place to another in the rural areas greatly limits their functions.
They made the disclosure to the Daily Observer right after the end of the one-day stakeholders’ meeting.