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Maryland Agriculture Coordinator seeks manpower

The County Agriculture Coordinator for Maryland County Christian Neckie Natt has decried lack of manpower for the Ministry of Agriculture’s sub-office in Maryland.

He made the disclosure during a one-day mobilization meeting with farmers held recently at the Pleebo City Hall in Pleebo district.

Mr. Natt lamented that the county is unfortunate to have just three extension staff, instead of six.

He said due to the shortage of manpower, each of the extension staff works in two districts.

He named Mr. Domo William and Peter Koffa as the only two extension personnel working with him in the county, which he noted, poses serious hindrance to the Agricultural sector there.

He continued that Mr. Williams works in Pleebo and Karluway districts, while Mr. Koffa works in Harper and Barrobo, respectively.

The County Agriculture Coordinator lamented that both men are doing additional two persons’ work in their respective districts of assignment.

“So again, they are just two including me, that are doing all of the Agricultural works in the county and Maryland County should have had six extension staff in the county.

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However, we are trying to make sure to visit our farmers in order to provide them with necessary information from the ministry”, he explained.

According to him, the county currently has two active projects from the Ministry of Agriculture; namely, the RE-TRIP project and the STAR project.

He noted that the RE-TRIP project’s primary focus is to work with rubber producers, while the STAR project is for oil palm producers.

Besides, the CAC added that there is another project coming up which will be implemented by the ministry’s extension team that won’t involve people from headquarters in Monrovia.

He stressed that it is a smallholders Agriculture Food and Nutrition project to be implemented by the local team in the county to rehabilitate 50-75 hectares of lowland.

Mr. Natt added that rehabilitation of 25 hectares will be done in Pleebo, electoral district#2 and 50 hectares will be done in Harper, electoral district#1, respectively.

He because of the importance of lowland rice production, they encouraged some investors that were given 2000 hectares of land by the people Barrobo, electoral district#3 to cultivate lowland while there is additional 7000 hectares agreement already signed by the people through the help of local authorities.

“So again, we are doing everything to produce rice that will reduce our level of importation because we have noticed over the time that whenever the road leading to the southeast get spoiled, the price of rice increases, so what we are doing now is to make our county self-sufficient in food.

As you may be aware, we sometimes buy rice for LRD3,500 and LRD5,000 whenever the road gets spoiled, so by this, we can change the system.”

The MOA Coordinator disclosed that to fulfil such dream, the ministry has provided two giant-size machines with the capacity to process 2.2 tons of rice per hour, which is 18 tons in 8 hours, because the mill is built to run just eight hours a day.

“So, the mill is currently situated in Chinee farm but again, to have that mill felt, we need to go beyond what we are doing now”, he cautioned.

He also revealed the besides rice production, the county is also involved with cassava and fish production, sponsored by the European Union in five counties, and noted that Agriculture sub-office in Maryland is working closely with local farmers through medium-scale empowerment program, providing them seeds, tools, chemicals and training. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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