(Monrovia, March 18, 2021)-: A one-day strategic session of Ministry of Agriculture’s technicians, policy makers and county field staff was convened on Tuesday to brainstorm and derive a workable plan, through a coordinated approach, to immediately begin the cultivation of select Government farms around Liberia.
At this year’s maiden Cabinet Meeting in February when the Minister of Agriculture presented a detailed report on the agriculture sector’s progress, His Excellency President George Manneh Weah expressed happiness over MoA’s discovery of several hundred hectares of farmland in Grand Cape Mount owned by the Government of Liberia.
His Excellency instructed Minister Cooper to ensure all government farms are cultivated this year starting with the farm in Grand Cape Mount.
“I will lead the entire cabinet to plant rice and crops by April this year. Living by example is cardinal. If we are to achieve our goals in transforming the agriculture sector, we need to participate in it fully.”, President Weah said.
With the help of a 100% Liberian owned engineering consortium, the NEEMA Group Incorporated, preliminary aerial survey analyses have just been done using hi-tech drone to identify water sources to irrigate the select farms.
NEEMA Group and MoA jointly assessed nine sites in five counties with accumulated farming land of over hundreds of hectares which are Government’s own and were had rice and other food crops planted on them over three decades ago.
The sites visited are: Bomi [Borbor and Zalekai Towns], Bong [Bong Mines, Kpatawee, Bellemu and Garmu], Grand Cape Mount [Teh-two and Gawula Tumbay], Margibi [Weala] and Nimba [Gbedin].
Amazingly, all sites have water sources and few with dams that supported their irrigation systems.
The MoA is targeting 2000 hectares of lowlands and 3000 hectares of upland through selected smallholder groups on those Government farms and support them mechanized equipment, seeds, agrochemicals, fertilizers to do crop production starting with the Government farm in Teh, Grand Cape Mount County.
“The MoA is not going to directly engaged in farming, but rather supporting farming communities and smallholders’ farmers. Even though Government farm model was used in the 1970s to the 1970s that model is not applicable today as Government’s resources are scarce”, Minister Cooper said.
She continued, “Our points of entry will be through communities to work on those farms and we will be accounting on our decentralized MoA structures – County Agriculture Coordinators and District Agriculture Officers to provide support”.
The strategic session agreed to deploy all available MoA assets -machineries, agronomists and other expertise to begin work now before the planting season.