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GeneralLiberia news

Agriculture boss stresses implementation of strategies

-To boost rice production here

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Liberia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Madam Jeanine M. Cooper, stresses the urgent need to ensure self-sufficiency in food and believes that can only be achieved when the country gravitates from trials and researches to real implementation strategies. 

While it is true that some of these many projects, especially internationally-supported projects are most often successful in trial states, Madam Cooper observes that in most cases, they are rarely successful in their real implementation stage. 

Predicated upon this, she suggests that these trials should be replicated for real farmers to have good results out of the soil and enhance massive local food production, especially the country’s staple food; rice. 

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Minister Cooper spoke Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Improving Rice Production for Smallholders Project (LibRice) project joint coordination meeting held at the Ministry of Agriculture in Monrovia. 

“We are looking to recapitalize these strategies for food production and we want to make our dream of self-sufficiency in rice production realized. We are looking to see the progress of the LibRice Project. But my suggestion is that these trials be replicated by the farmers to have good results. They should not just focus on trials and researches, but must implement,” she further emphasizes. 

“What I mean is that the JICA LiRice project, unlike other past projects, should move or grow from research to implementation so that the result that we get as a nation and people will be meaningful and impactful. The reason we are saying this is because whenever those projects close, we don’t see the impact(s). And so at the level of the Ministry of Agriculture, we will provide the needed technical assistance we can to address those challenges because we want to steer our projects into impactful interventions.” 

Chief Advisor on the LibRice Project, Mr. Katsuyuki Yamamoto, explained that the project began in May of last year and since its establishment, several trials and surveys have been conducted, which when implemented, would promote local rice production.

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“This is very important to Liberians. JICA has a similar scheme to improve production,” Yamamoto says, noting that the project is working with over 2,000 farmers in Bong County, central region. 

LibRice Focal Point, Mr. Emmanuel D. Williams, notes that the project is in line with Liberia’s rice development project that gears to expanding rice production.

For his part, the Assistant Minister for Extension at the Ministry of Agriculture, Avin Wesseh, lauds Minister Cooper for her oversight in the sector, especially her reservation about the LibRice Project. 

“We will take your observation in good faith and take all necessary corrective measures so as to improve the project. Owing to the importance of rice to Liberians, we will find solutions. We can guarantee you, Honorable Minister, that we address our concern,” Mr. Wesseh assures. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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