As part of efforts to support small holder farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has donated a brand new power tiller machine to the Makona River Rice Farm to boost its rice production.
At the donation ceremony held June 23, 2020, at MOA's Gardnersville office, Melvin Willie, Administrative Assistant of the office of the Deputy Minister for Regional Development, Research and Extension said the machine is intended to empower farmers despite the health crisis in the country.
"While we are in the health crisis, one of the key aims of the Ministry is to empower our small farmers and increase food productivity. With the pandemic, Liberia is currently experiencing food crisis. We believe this is the best way of ending the food insufficiency in Liberia," Mr. Willie said.
The Makona River Rice Farm is located in Sorlumba Town Foya District, Lofa County. The project has hired over hundred farmers who are currently working to increase the production of rice. The program has also secured over 150 acres of swamp land.
Amos G.E. Zeon, Montserrado County Agriculture Coordinator who also officially presented the power tiller to Makona River Rice Farm representative said the power tiller will be sued to reduce labor and increase food sufficiency in the country.
"Most of our farmers are faced with hard labor challenge that is causing low production in rice. This causing serious capital problem for them. Today, the Ministry is working to ensure the reduction of high cost for farmers across the country," Mr. Zeon stressed.
He said the power tiller is a support from partner to the MOA to enhance the production rice and also reduce cost for farmers, especially farmers who organize themselves in increasing rice production.
Monrovia Representative of the Makona River Rice Farm, Oretha S. Bundoo expressed gratitude to the MOA, particularly the hardworking team for supporting the Makon River Rice Farm with the power tiller machine.
"This power tiller will carry us a long way because plying the soil is challenging. Additionally, this machine will ease our work and also increase production of rice," Mrs. Bundoo said.
"We thank the Minister of Agriculture and her hard working team at the MOA," she said.
Mrs. Bundoo maintained that the Makona River Rice Farm has over 100 workers, 60% are females.
She said Makona River Rice Farm is answering the call by the president and the minister of agriculture to increase food production in Liberia, especially in Lofa County region.
Mrs. Bundoo added that "we are grateful to minister and the ministry for their support in ensuring that farmers are supported. "
Meanwhile, the donation was made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Makona Farm Project which among other things says Makona River Rice Farm is a strategic partner of the Government of Liberia working in alignment with its national priorities in food security.