YOP Beneficiaries Cultivate 851,000 Acres of Farmland

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A partial view of the YOP's cassava farm in Zota District, Bong County.

— Contains cassava, rice, and other vegetables

By Robin Dopoe and David A. Yates

Over 10,000 rural young farmers, benefiting from the government of Liberia’s Youth Opportunity Project (YOP) across the country, have cultivated 851,000 acres of farmland, with crops such as cassava, rice, cucumber, and other vegetables.

Crops from the farmland were sold and brought in substantial income for the project beneficiaries who have begun reinvesting the profit back into large scale farming.

According to D. Zeogar Wilson, Minister of Youth and Sports, the project aims to improve access to income generation opportunities for targeted youth and strengthen the government’s capacity to implement its cash transfer program, as well as promoting agriculture at the grassroots level.

“The farmer empowerment component of this project is designed to encourage vulnerable youth in the rural part of the country to engage in agriculture in order to feed themselves and a means of livelihood.

“To make this happen, we provide each farmer group’s members labor subsidies of US$300, which is meant to encourage them to focus only on farming. Furthermore, we also provide them agricultural tools, seedlings, and modern farming techniques.

“During the implementation of the project, we talk to chiefs and elders of various towns and villages who provide us land to be used for the farm component of the project which is three years,” Min. Wilson said.

Minister Wilson also added the ministry and its project partners also provide technical supports to the farmers including business training, agro-processing machine, and market information to the farmers.

“The good news is that farmers keep all of the revenue generated from their farm products and reinvest the money into the farm. Currently, almost all of the farm groups have now gone back to their farm after cultivating it,” Min. Wilson added. “Matter of fact, they have even planned to go beyond the numbers of acres cultivated during the first period of the project.”

Min. Wilson further explained that since the start of the project three years ago, they have spent over US$1 million on the targeted beneficiaries who are engaged in farming and small businesses, as well as other young people who are being trained and prepared for employment.

“In round one, 3,436 youths from 129 communities were recruited and received US$527,537 as final labor subsidies in February 2019, which constitutes 95% payment success rate for round one. In round two, 3,577 new beneficiaries were recruited and received $536,550 as 50% of their labor subsidies in July 2019.

“As for the selection process, it is very transparent and it is done based on the individual poverty level. We use the lotteries process to get the total numbers of beneficiaries we need during each round of the project, but one will have to meet the criteria before entering the lotteries system,” the Minister added.

The Youth Opportunities Project, according to Min. Wilson, is a five-year program with a US$10 million loan from the World Bank that is implemented in four different components: pre-employment social support, household enterprises, and capacity and systems building and the productive public works and life skills support.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Is this true, what I just read …..851,000 acres of mixed agricultural products? This volume alone could bring the prices down on food items. How come the Ministry of Agriculture did not support, buttress or provide inputs for this story? We just want to see it happen; we want it to be true.

  2. How much did you harvest? How much did you get from the sale?
    Are you sure you cultivated 851,000 acres of farmland?

    • If it is true, I hope their prices will be high so they can get out off slavery. Never should anybody’s labor be cheap for the others (Slavery).

  3. An Audit must be conducted to find out where the ministry’s money is going?

    Are they saying that our CountryFarmer’s farms are now their agriculture projects?
    Agriculture has never feed anyone in Liberia. It is a branch of food production that mainly depends on Science&Engineering.
    Please do an Audit so that we know where those million are going?

  4. Either this is just half of this story, or just another obvious World Bank wastage! How in hell’s name could the WB channel agricultural loan through a sports ministry that knows nothing about agriculture or farming? And when this darn experiment fails then the country is obligated to pay back the loan? Better yet, just make the Youth and Sports Minister the minister of Agriculture, since he know how to produce food so easily compared to the Agriculture minister doing nothing.

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