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GeneralLiberia news

Commentary:  Swamp Farming is the Solution

By:Togba-Nah Tipoteh

Front Page Africa and New Narratives have done a survey showing that “nine out of ten Liberian subsistence farmers want to migrate because climate change is making farming unviable.” In the words of the thirty-four-year-old Liberian Farmer Alex Konway, “I do not know book, but I know what is happening is climate change; I have been farming for years , so I know when farms are supposed to burn. Rain used to fall in March, but not like this. This year, if my farm does not burn, it means I will not get food for next year. Even the corn I planted, they just getting dry because of the sun. That all that one make it I want to leave from here  (Front Page Africa, page five, Friday, April 26, 2024).

The climate change farm problem has been a long-standing problem because nearly all of the farmers in Liberia are engaged in upland farming using the slash-and-burn method. For a long time, farmers in Liberia have been encouraged to move into swamp land farming to prevent them from getting schistosomiasis, the swamp disease, but to no avail. These farmers complain about the lack of money to buy rain boots and other supplies to avoid catching the disease.

While nearly all of the people of Liberia remain poor farmers, the few members of the National Legislature are rich with access to at least LD300,000 a day, and their foreign partners have access to at least LD300,000,000 a day and nearly all Liberians remain poor with access to at most less than LD300 a day (The Annual Reports of CBL, LISGIS, MFDP, MCI, WB, IMF, ADB and UNDP). No wonder rice imports to Liberia amounted to almost USD300 million in 2023 (MCI, 2024). This importation is happening when over eighty percent of the people of Liberia live from farming, especially rice farming. 

Clearly. the powers that be do not promote local production, with local ownership and employment that would promote poverty alleviation rather than poverty generation. Most unfortunately, the incoming State rulers boast of promoting local agricultural production. But this is not the case because of the fact that most of the rice consumed in Liberia are imported and owned by foreign businesses. Now, with the encouragement of foreign investors, the local ownership and production of rice, Liberia’s staple food, is certainly not being promoted by the powers that be. So, the migration of Liberian farmers will take place in the midst of the fact over three thousand Africans have died this year as they tried to migrate by oceanic crossing.

The sad story of the deaths by drowning provides the people who love Liberia with the opportunity of raising awareness to motivate the people to take action to move from upland farming to swamp land farming, within the Rule of Law, to transform the prevailing unfair sectoral system to the enduring fair electoral system. It is only through this transformation that persons with good records can get elected to bring in the system of Justice, the indispensable ingredient for Peace and Progress in Liberia and in any other country.

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