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Handicapped farmers acquire new skills

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In a bid to enhance greater productivity in the agricultural sector and to conserve biodiversity, over 40 physically-challenged farmers under the banner, Mission for Hope for the Disabled (MHD) have received training in new farming techniques.

The one-day exercise, held at the compound of the MHD in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, was conducted by the National Action for Economic Empowerment and Development (NAFEED) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under its Green Climate Fund Small Grant Project (GCF-SG)).

The program is intended to promote physically-challenged (disabled) farmers’ participation in biodiversity conservation in rural communities.

Speaking to reporters following the training, the Program Manager of NAFEED, Madam JennehKorlison, noted that the program is intended to build the capacity of the disabled in growing their crops and vegetables through organic approach, rather than using chemicals that tend to destroy crops and post danger to humans.

According to her, the program is a means of helping disabled farmers to make livelihood through a sustainable development plan.

“It is intended to help farmers make livelihood through sustainable means of the soil. We are having this training to educate farmers, especially the disabled to learn new techniques, so that they will graduate from those poor practices of use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, which causes bio-diversity degradation,” she stated.

“Those chemicals that we use cause serious harm on the soil and the plants as well as we, humans. This training is all about educating the people in using local resources that are available in the environment such as the feces of pigs, cows, and others. This will in fact, reduce production cost and disease outbreak.

Madam Korlison said the organic way of farming is the ideal means of enhancing greater agricultural productivity in a sense that it creates a good environment for the ecosystem and helps farmers to solve all production challenges.

“My message to Liberian farmers is that, they must prioritize the organic approach of farming because human is safe by this method. The organic pesticide can also be prepared from local resources as well,” she added.

In remarks, the Executive Director of MHD, Mr. Victor Wilson, said training provides great opportunity to disabled farmers through the acquisition of new knowledge.

Wilson stated that the training is an empowerment and sustainability plan for the disabled, who are already cultivating a farmland that was started by NAFEED.

“I want to appreciate NAFEED very greatly for the training. They are really putting into place their plan. Whatever we learn here will remain with us. We will be able to manage a farm which they have started,” he said.

He called on other well-meaning individuals and organizations to follow the good example of NAFEED by creating an environment where physically-challenged people can independently survive.

“We are not beggars when we are trained. When groups of disabled are together, they need the support of people out there so that they can be empowered,” the MHD head urged. Madam Dedeh Morris, one of the participants, lauded NAFEED for thinking about the disabled among its programs.

“This is very important to us, especially disabled and most especially females who are disabled. It will help us sustain ourselves. I want to call on other disabled to take advantage of every opportunity. They must put their hands to work and not just depend on handouts all the time. What you get in the street will not last forever, but what you learn will remain with you for good until you leave the face of this earth,” she cautioned.

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