Ebola recovery: FAO and partners join harvest launch celebration

Ebola recovery: FAO and partners join harvest launch celebration


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Liberia, the Ministry of Agriculture and the local implementing partner – Green Revolution Promoters (Green Pro), generated much happiness when they joined Ebola-affected farmers to launch the first harvest of improved rice varieties in late October in Tundin, Nimba County.

Launch of the rice harvest

During the ceremony, Ms. Doris Zumba, Chairlady of the Dordealah Farmers Group in Tundin explained how this project is helping them get back in action. “Ebola killed people and destroyed a lot. But FAO and the Ministry came to us and today we are going to harvest and will soon receive our village saving loan FAO promised us.”

The technical manager of Green Pro, Mr. Offerce Kpokolo, disclosed that 25 village savings and loan associations (VSLA) benefited from NERICA L-19 lowland rice seeds to cultivated 1,5 hectares. The characteristics of this rice variety, including earlier maturity, disease resistance, and higher protein content, which contributes to improved health by substituting costlier protein sources, also enable higher yielding than the varieties previously used in the area. Expected yield is 1 950kg of rice per group, or a total of 48 750 kg for the 25 groups.

Mr Kpokolo described the achievement as “huge”. He then appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO to help better link farmers to markets to increase their income.

FAO Representative in Liberia, Mr. Marc Abdala expressed FAO’s total commitment to help the farmers become more sustainable by encouraging value addition and capacity building: “Poverty has no place here in Liberia because we have the solution which is to convert potential and resources available in the country into real and usable wealth. This can be a result of your efforts making farms and agriculture as a whole your business. We are urging farmers and all actors to ensure that agriculture provides enough incomes to farming families. Increased production along with improved quality will be pivotal to the competitiveness at the market that is part of FAO priorities. FAO will work with the farmers and the local authorities to explore the possibilities of organizing agriculture fairs to allow farmers sell their produce.” He encouraged beneficiaries to make Ebola as part of the history and forge ahead: “Let us leave Ebola behind and forge ahead because no development can be possible here without the effective support and commitment of the Liberian people who can make it productive.”

George Matiah, District Agriculture Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, praised the farmers for their success and then urged them to make good use of what they received to avoid asking for more. “If we continue to always ask, it means we are not ready to move forward and we will continue to go down.” He then admonished them to share the gains made with other farmers in need.

The assistance is provided under the project entitled “Post-Ebola Livelihood Recovery through Women Association Food and Income Security Empowerment” funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). It caters to 200 women associations in Liberia, representing 6 000 households in the most Ebola-affected communities in Lofa, Bong and Nimba counties.