The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) yesterday launched a vegetable and poultry project valued at US$438,000 at the MOA’s sub office outside Monrovia.
The project is being funded by FAO and will benefit 1,500 urban and peri-urban women and youth farmers in rural Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
It seeks to provide valuable vegetable production and address the issues of storage and simple irrigation that impedes maximum profit making for vegetable growers during the dry season. It will also address the issue of poultry health and feed production to reduce the mortality of chicks.
The FAO initiative will provide both technical and material support to women’s groups to locally produce fresh and valuable vegetables, and will ensure access and availability of local chickens and fresh eggs.
It can be recalled that in 2016, the MOA requested funding from the FAO to support the Division of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture at the Ministry in sustainable home-grown vegetable garden project for women and youth.
Speaking during the launch of the project, FAO country representative, Mr. Marc Abdala, expressed optimism that the project will improve production and empowers women and youth to become sustainable producers in the vegetable and poultry value chains.
“The Ministry of Agriculture identified support to urban and peri-urban farmers in vegetable and poultry as areas of priority and our institution accepted to provide support. This project is important as it will improve nutrition, create jobs and reduce malnutrition in the lives of the beneficiaries. But to make the project a success, beneficiaries must take ownership”, he said.
He asked the beneficiaries to work harder for the sustainability of the project, adding that his institution remain committed to supporting the country’s strides to achieve food security.
The Deputy Minister for Administration at the MOA, Atty. Philomena Williams said that her ministry was pleased about the level of support the FAO continues to provide in helping Liberia to eliminate hunger.
“We are hopeful that this program will succeed at creating sustainable jobs for the beneficiaries to reduce poverty and produce enough food. The goal to end hunger is both supported by the government and the FAO.
She challenge the beneficiaries of the project to make maximum use of the opportunity to improve their lives.
For her part, the National Coordinator of Urban and peri-urban program at the MOA, Mai Yuan said that the MOA seeks to empower more farmers in urban settlements to produce vegetables for livelihood but mention that there are lot of challenges still facing urban agriculture.
“There are lot of challenges facing urban farming in Liberia but we are sure that this project will help address these challenges to improve lives. Under this project farmers will be link with supermarkets and restaurants to sell produce for attractive prices. The project will also help to improve the nutrition status of beneficiaries as they chickens raise by beneficiaries will likewise be used for household consumption”, she mention.