The Foundation for African Development Aid/ Libya-Africa Investment Portfolio (ADA/LAP) says it has completed its first major mechanized harvest in the country putting the yield at a little over 200 tons of rice.
The company announced sometimes last year that it would have begun the harvesting of its first batch of rice during the last quarter of 2009.
Speaking to this paper via telephone over the weekend, ADA/LAP Project Coordinator, Victor Benson, told The New Dawn that the harvest, which lasted over a month, was very successful despite few hitches here and there apparently due to the fact that operators had to adjust to the use of the machines.
Mr. Benson further told this paper that part of the delay was also due to the company’s rice mill not arriving on time, adding that they had to employ the conventional methods that are used here to dry the rice in the sun.
He said he expects the rice mill to arrive before the next harvest but did not say when. “We dried the rice on 2 acres of tarpaulin,” he said.
He said one of the machines used during the process, the combined harvester, is by far the fastest. Mr. Benson said the company is currently in the process of clearing to extend its acreage ahead of the next planting season, which he said, will take place before the next rainy season.
The company in 2009, brushed, cleared and tiled 1,700 hectares, which is 68% of its target 2500 hectares out of 10,000 hectares.
Asked what will be the next move as far as the first harvest is concerned, Mr. Benson said the company is yet to decide how to get the rice on the market.
ADA/LAP is seeking to become a leader in mechanized rice production here and to feed the nation.
The company’s objective is to increase food production through local mechanized rice farming. To achieve this, the company entered a concession agreement with the government of Liberia after identifying a vast parcel of land in Foya, Lofa County.
Despite other challenges, the company is gradually achieving its target to make Liberia self-sufficient in food production-at least as far as rice production is concerned.