The Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), through its implementing project the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), on Tuesday, November 27, certificated 49 agro-input dealers from Nimba, Bong, Lofa and Montserrado Counties.
Those certificated completed the one year training on Safer Agro-Inputs Utilization and Business Management, according to CNFA/LADA.
Oscar G. Flomo, CNFA/LADA, Acting Chief of Party, said that the training on the safer usage of agro-inputs came to effect as a result of the approval of LADA's Pesticides Evaluation Report and Safer Use Action Plan (PERSUAP).
Flomo said that the training encompassed four modules that the 49 graduates were drilled through, including the ones that were rolled out quarterly in 2018, such as Introduction to Safer Agro-Inputs Utilization; and Basic Record Keeping; Guiding Principles of Good Customer Service and Introduction to Extension Outreach; Common Pests and Diseases of Food Crops in Liberia and the Pesticide First Aid.
He charged the graduates to serve as Extension Officers for needy farmers that are not in CNFA/LADA's intervention counties.
Also, proxy for the Minister of Agriculture, Michael D. Titoe said that agro-inputs dealers are important to Liberia's agricultural transformation as human health, crops lives and environment safety partly rest on their shoulders.
"As they play a key role in the entire value chain from production to consumers' table, it is, therefore, necessary that those, who are involved in this process are carefully trained to effectively handle the application of agro-chemical inputs to avoid damage to humans, the crops and the environment," said Titoe.
He commended CNFA/LADA for their role played in the human capacity development of agro-inputs dealers, and added that now trained agro-inputs dealers will boost the government's regulatory arm across the country, especially in the supervision, marketing and safety measures of agro-inputs.
"As trained and licensed agro-inputs dealers, you will help the government in the supervision, marketing of and safety measures," said Titoe.
Rebecca Kalayi, president of the National Agro-Inputs Dealers Association of Liberia (NAIDAL), said that prior to the training, most of the dealers were misapplying formulas of products, especially fertilizers.
Kalayi informed the audience that dealers of the products have now moved on from being petty traders to extension officers that are prepared to educate farmers about the proper usage and effect of agro-chemicals to human health, crops and the environment.
LADA has been partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), the Liberia Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Agro-Inputs Dealers Association of Liberia to provide training on safer inputs utilization, and business management skills to agro-dealers that are in LADA's counties of intervention.