Poultry project beneficiaries in Konia and Foya Districts in Lofa County in mid-August began harvesting nearly five acres of cow peas for use as locally produced feeds.
With the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Government of Liberia, 300 beneficiaries in early 2012 embarked on an 18-month development project in poultry production.
The project, titled Poultry Production Support to Farmer Households in Lofa County, is a Technical Cooperation Project funded by FAO. Located in the towns of Konia, Vezeala, and Foya in Zorzor, Voinjama and Foya Districts respectively, the project aims at assisting the beneficiaries – 92% women – grow chickens on a large scale for income generation and improvement of their diets.
According to an FAO statement issued in Monrovia, Lessons learnt in past poultry endeavours indicated that the lack of locally available feeds is a major constraint in sustaining intensive poultry production in the country.
In a bid to address this constraint the project beneficiaries acquired acres of land spaces at each of the three project locations and have planted cow peas, cassava and corn for poultry feed production. The crops are being produced in advance of the stocking of the chicks, and once the birds are procured the feeds will be processed and fed to the chickens.
“This is very much sustainable, and will make the project viable because they are not going to depend on importing feeds to grow the chickens,” the project’s national coordinator Preston Anderson said.
Meanwhile, Assistant FAO Representative for Program Joseph Boiwu has challenged the poultry farmers in Konia, Velezeala, and Foya to be the main catalysts for ending the importation of chicken parts and products into Liberia.
“FAO is here to work with the Government to help the people of Liberia develop their agriculture. When we see you working hard, we are encouraged to do more. You buy imported chicken parts (feet, wings, eggs, etc) to eat.
As you buy those parts you are supporting those that are producing the chicken. You can also produce the chickens here in Liberia for your family consumption, which will save the money you are using to buy the imported parts, and you will also sell some to generate additional income for your families. This project is for you and we want you to take it very serious,” Mr. Boiwu noted.
Lofa County Agriculture Coordinator (CAC), John B. Dovee, lauded FAO for being a reliable partner and urged the beneficiaries to wholeheartedly embrace the project with commitment.
“Government is happy with the work of FAO in Lofa and this project is supporting efforts of Government to cater to the people. After this harvest, you will continue planting the sites t with cassava, peanuts, and other crops because this project will empower you not only for food but also for family support and sustenance,” Coordinator Dowee noted.
Women producers in Velezeala promised to emerge as the best site among all three sites. Velezeala site Chairperson Korpo Mawolo said they were working collectively to ensure project’s success and viability.