Thirty one farmers from communities near ArcelorMittal Liberia’s mining area recently benefited from the “Farming as a Business” training program held in Sanniquellie, sponsored by ArcelorMittal Liberia and conducted by Catalyst Liberia Inc.
The farmers came from several entities, including local NGOs and churches, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture in the Sanniquellie, Mahn and Yarmein districts in Nimba County.
Part of the Biodiversity Conservation Program, also funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia, the training teaches farmers how to generate sufficient income to sustain their families. Specifically, farmers will gain knowledge in business strategies, planning and managing that will enable them to market their farm products.
Co-facilitator of the training, Alexander Wright, said the program is unique and timely, given the price decline within the world market of iron ore, our major source of income. Wright said that he thinks it’s “about time that we look toward agriculture that will diversify our source of income; by this we are targeting our local farmers because they are major role players in the agriculture sector.”
“We are learning so many new things,” said one participant Elizabeth Quoimie. “Before … we did not know how to market our farm products to get money … to help our family. But now we are able to.” Quoimie said that they are learning how to produce enough food both to eat and to sell.
After learning themselves, training participants are then expected to go out and train an additional 350 persons in their communities and organizations across Liberia on how to market farming products.
The Biodiversity Conservation Program is a new farming method introduced and funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia to people in mine-affected communities in Nimba County.