Harvest will be better

Harvest will be better


A clearly ecstatic Mrs Kou N. Kulah, Chairlady of the Bunadin Women’s Organization, took to the podium, and speaking on behalf of her farmer group said: “All the support you gave us: seed rice, tools, and staff were not a waste. You can see the result in this rice farm.”

Cutting the ribbon

The Chairlady of the 25-member women’s group underscored the relevance of the project including the added value aspect of improved variety which she said will be sustained. “Harvest this time around will be much better than previous ones because it’s the first time we are growing this type of rice [NERICA L-19] which has increased our yields on the same plots.” She said the training, support, technical backstopping  and constant follow up from the implementing partner – Diocesan Agricultural and Human Resource Development Team (DAHRDT) – and FAO field staff in Liberia were outstanding. She also requested additional assistance to add value and increase production acreage. “We need cash assistance for a savings [susu] scheme, rice mill and power tiller. We are united under one women’s organization and depend on our farm to support our children and not to sit down and depend on government and husbands. We have orphans and widows among us.”

In late October, beneficiaries in Bunadin community, Nimba County, began harvesting their rice farm, which was cultivated with support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and implementing partner DAHRDT.

“We are not your visitors. We are part of you and members of your team because we are working together,” said FAO Representative in Liberia, Mr Marc Abdala, speaking at the launch of the harvest in Bunadin. He said he was happy to hear from DAHRDT that the project is contributing to MDG 1 to fight hunger and malnutrition. “You women are going in the right direction in fighting hunger and that’s why FAO is here.”

DAHRDT’s Project Officer, Oliver Kekel, said there was something bigger than the harvest itself: “We have come here to launch the harvest but there is something bigger than the harvest. We have also come to show how the people of Bunadin are contributing to meeting the MDGs in favour of poverty reduction through agriculture.”

According to FAO’s agronomists, Albert C. Kpassawah and Offerce Kpokolo, the rice variety used is NERICA L-19 (new rice for Africa lowland number nineteen), which is better than other lowland rice varieties Liberian farmers used in the past. The variety is beneficial to lowland producers, specifically as it has short growth duration (about 100 days), is disease resistant, high yielding, good palatability, contains high protein content, contributes to improved health by substituting costlier protein sources, and enhances mental development of youth.

Funded by the UN Trust Fund, the project, “Human security initiative in the most neglected communities with the integration of efforts by the UN Country Team in Liberia”, is to cater for 550 households in lowland rice production in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland Counties. The project’s partners, implementing different components relating to their mandates and expertise are FAO, UNICEF, UNFPA, ILO, WFP and UN Women, with support from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Government of Liberia.

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