Liberia: 10k Local Farmers to Benefit From Multiple Agriculture Initiatives

The Liberia Farmers Development Corporation (LIFADCO) Inc. has designed a national project to develop agriculture through collaboration with major stakeholders under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, targeting four statutory districts in Nimba.

The organization began recruiting farmers, beginning February this year, targeting 10k beneficiaries, including 75% women and 25% men as well as 216 farming kuu in Gbehlay, Zoe-Geh, Tappita and Saclepea statutory districts, respectively.

"We are doing conservation agriculture: farming as a business, farmer field school, value addition, manpower development and job creations," said the Director Boris Barlea.

"Out of our targeted beneficiaries, we have currently recruited 5,000, including 3,750 female, 1250 male farmers and 216 farming Kuu groups," he said.

He said the main objective of the organization is to increase agricultural productivity and promote commercialization of smallholder farmers through productive linkages between the farmers and the private agribusiness firms in selected value chains.

Mr. Barlea explained that LIFADCO is helping farmers to better manage and protect their staple crops and livestock through better soil management, water resource management, and minimizing crop and livestock waste due to spoilage, weeds, pests, disease, and other threats.

He maintained, "Our project is aimed at smallholder commercialization and facilitating private sector investment in agribusiness by fostering productive business linkages between smallholder farmers and selected agribusiness firms with capacity strengthened by private business service providers."

He added that the project is also aimed at supporting a few commodity value-chains with significant potential for enhancing competitiveness and creation of jobs.

Some of the activities in which the organization is engaged are, establishment and development of agricultural farms, agro-management ventures, establishment of experimentation center for work force development and capacity building in areas such as cash-crops, lowland rice, vegetables and livestock production as well as fisheries.

"We are looking at value chains such as tree crops (cocoa & oil palm), rice production and horticulture crops (fruits and vegetables), crops and natural resource management as well as livestock production," he explained.

Other areas of involvement will be plantation Crops (cotton, coconut, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, sisal, oil seeds, oil palms, rubber trees, conservation agriculture, pest & disease management, aquaculture and fish farming, bees keeping and farming as a business.

"Currently, we are rehabilitating swamps in 6 communities, including Payglay, Garwonpa, Guawin, Bahn, Frolay and Zayglay, with a total of 1,665 beneficiaries -- 416 male and 1,249 female," he added.

He noted cassava production is ongoing in 54 communities in Zoe-Geh, Saclepea Mahn, Tappita and the Gbehlay-Geh districts, where the planted cassava is about 40cm.

For the bee keeping, he said, "we have 30 hives in 10 communities, out of the 30 hives, 21 hives have canonized, while at the same time about 20 snail-raising pens have been set up in six communities.

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