The World Food Programme (WFP) has begun a three – day Smallholder Agriculture Development Project Nutrition Sensitive Workshop in Gbarnga, Bong County.The Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SHAD-P) is a Japanese Government food aid initiative through the WFP that aims at supporting smallholder farmers in Liberia.
The project’s main goal is to promote resilient agriculture practices for staple food production.Speaking in an interview with reporters at the opening of the workshop recently, WFP Nutrition Program Officer Samuel Kopi said the objective of the training is to strengthen Smallholder farmers’ knowledge on sustainable food system and its contribution to optimal nutrition.
According to Mr. Kopi, the training will also enhance the knowledge and skills of rural women in the production of high nutrient crops, improve understanding food diversification and discuss methods of food production, handling, preparation, storage and diversification.
The training has 60 participants that were drawn from a pool of key stakeholders including the relevant line ministries (Agriculture, Health and Internal Affairs), and key partners include WFP, Samaritan Purse and the Bong County Technical College.Key facilitators at the workshop are from the WFP Nutrition and are being assisted by the cooperating partners’ nutrition team to cover other sensitive modules.
Mr. Kopi told our Bong County correspondent that additional facilitating support will come from the County Health and Agriculture Departments, relevant to the local context.He says the two main components of the project focus on consolidating gains in the agriculture sector, by promoting, sustaining lowland rice assets through food-based transfer as incentives and to promote diet diversification through the production of secondary staple crops.
Some of these secondary staple crops include legumes (cassava, cowpeas, maize and groundnuts) to curtail the effects of malnutrition as well as reduce the maternal health risks of adolescent females suffering from under-nutrition.Also speaking to our correspondent, Bong County nutrient focal person J. Adadius Dayi stated that the workshop is very important on grounds that it will help to make some awareness on his job in the County.
According to him, people in Liberia do not have much time for fruits, adding that Liberians only care for rice which has much sugar that affects the body.He says with the workshop, participants will be able to understand the importance of balanced diet and how it helps to give the body nutrient.Mr. Dayi wants the participants to help spread the messages across, adding that it will also make others to understand and get the concept.
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong–Edited by Winston W. Parley