Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah has officially unveiled Liberia’s first modern rice threshers built in Gbarnga, Bong County. The Minister unveiled the threshers, constructed by about twenty local machine fabricators from across the country as they concluded twenty one days of workshop on agricultural machinery fabrication.
During the program, Dr. Zinnah commended partners of the government for making it possible, through their support, to ensure that such was achieved. He added that the production was a step to mechanized farming, stressing that all of these were not happening by chances, but due to the high importance President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has attached to agriculture.
Dr. Zinnah indicated that President Sirleaf has always maintained that no country can develop without an improved agricultural system, even when iron ores, diamonds and other natural resources are in the country, adding that it is difficult for any country to move ahead when it cannot handle its food situation.
Africa Rice Country Dr. Innousa Akintayo commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for visiting the trainees on two separate occasions,which according to him, was a huge motivation. Dr Akintayo said the absence of mechanization has affected and continue to affect agricultural production not just in Liberia, but the entire Africa.
According to the Africa Rice Country Representative, as part of an effort to alleviate such constraint, Africa Rice, in its new strategic plan, has put mechanization as its new priority, especially the fabrication of locally produced machines.
He said the production of local agricultural machinery has been successful in many Africa Rice Countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast Chad, etc. Dr. Akintayo added that the importation of machinery from western countries cannot solve the problems of mechanization considering the challenges in maintenance.
He said in the coming days, there will be another training conducted on other areas of agricultural machinery, including rice mill, cleaners and planters. The artisans, who were trained, are people who own workshops in their counties and in the production of machines.
Participants of the training called on the government and partners not to allow their efforts to be wasted, urging them for more support.
The training was initiated by Africa Rice. Many of the speakers at the gathering described the production of the machines as a giant step to gravitating to mechanized farming. The program was graced by several international guests from USAID, World Bank, World Food Program and high profile government officials from other ministries and agencies, as well as a representative from the National Legislature.
Citizens gathered in their numbers to see how the machine operates as it was switched on for testing while threshing rice.-Edited by George Barpeen