Church Aid Inc (CAI) has announced the arrival of a consignment of 100,000 packets of vegetable seeds in Liberia with a retailed value of half a Million United States Dollars. The relief and development department of the New Water in the Desert Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Brewerville, Montserrado County made the pronouncement Friday, March 8, 2013.
Rev. Dr. Kortu K. Brown said in a release issued in Monrovia that the seeds were purchased and shipped by Seeds Program International based in Charlotte, North Carolina with the assistance of collaborating partners, and cleared with the assistance duty-free privilege from the Office of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Dr. Kortu said the seeds are in 14 varieties, including okra, pepper, collard, cucumber, onion, eggplant, melon, lettuce, and mustard, among others. He said the seeds will be used to support individual and community gardens to help rebuild personal economies and boost food security.
With agriculture as the base to potentially resolving unemployment in the country, Church Aid is calling on all Liberians “to sow seeds to fight hunger.”
“With the FAO of the United Nations predicting shortfalls in agriculture production due to the 25% reduction in our production capacity, it behooves all Liberians to turn to the soil and avert a future epoch of hunger in the country,” the release said.
CAI said that it intends to pursue some programs in utilizing the seeds, including General Distribution (GD) to cover individual farmers and field organizations through NGOs and Government, among others.
The organization noted that it will carry on Special Distribution to cover schools through Churches, orphanages, communities through community agriculture groups; and thirdly, to support School Gardens, involving both public and private schools aimed at exposing children to food security initiatives and complementing school feeding basket in schools where such programs exist.
CAI emphasized that the Seed Programs International has supplied approximately 1 million packets of vegetable seeds for humanitarian gardening programs in Liberia since 1998.
It recalled that it has distributed more than half a million packets of seeds, saying “All the vegetable seeds shipped to Liberia are selected for their suitability for the tropical growing conditions encountered there.”
Church Aid and Seed Programs International seek to ship only seed that meets commercial vegetable industry standards for germination and purity. CAI said germination is tested at least annually by independent certified seed testing laboratories, and only seed with germination above 80% (usually much higher) is shipped to its partners.