The World Food Program (WFP) in collaboration with the Government of Liberia and Samaritan Purse has launched the distribution of food for assets creation for about 1,200 smallholder farming households in Bong County.
The distribution exercise which started over the weekend, will continue until December as part of efforts to support local farmers as they engage in farming activities to improve their living condition by sending their children to school, among others.
Our Bong County correspondent says, in addition to giving the farmers food, WFP and Samaritan Purse have started training them about low-land farming.
Local farmers are also being provided the necessary working tools to support land asset development activities, our correspondent says.
It can be recalled that on Monday, 27 August, WFP in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Samaritan Purse International Relief, began a two day workshop in Bong County.
The workshop was intended to enhance project implementation and smallholder food production skills of stakeholders including cooperating/implementing partners, local government counterparts and beneficiaries.
Communities that benefited the first phase of rice and tools distribution include Sergeant Kollie Town (SKT), Millionaire Quarter Island in Gbarnga and Gbondoi Town.
Under the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project, the first activity seeks to support and consolidate gains in agriculture sector by promoting and sustaining lowland rice assets through food based transfer as incentives.
The second component focuses on the promotion of diet diversification through the production of secondary staple crops such as 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.
The World Food Programme is also looking forward to introduce its scope modalities to support beneficiary and commodity management, create advocacy on resilience building with agriculture students at the Bong County Technical College (BCTC), among others.
Speaking at one of the distribution sites, in Gbondoi, WFP Deputy Country Director Asif Bhutto stated that WFP will always stand by smallholder producers to grow not only the food their families need, but to also sell the surplus and earn an income to meet other dietary and family needs.
Director Bhutto says the beneficiaries of the project will have the capacity to continue good farming and they will have more knowledge about seed plantation.
He extends commendation to the Government of Liberia for accepting them to carry on the project and also to the government of Japan for the support it continues to give.
Also speaking, Samaritan Purse Country Director for Liberia Kendell Kauffeldt pledged his organization’s commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of local farmers in Liberia.
According to him, he feels good to help farmers because it makes them to be able to grow their own food instead of depending on other countries for rice.
“We met the farmers already making their farms, and since we have brought in new knowledge to them, we expect them to continue their farming activities after the six months,” Mr. Kauffeldt told our Bong County correspondent.
For their part, beneficiaries of the project extended commendations to the World Food Program; Samaritan’s Purse and the Government of Liberia for the initiative and promised to take advantage of it.
“We have been looking for people … to help us, and seeing that WFP and its partners have come to help, we will definitely continue working with them,” Phillip Mulbah, one of the beneficiaries told correspondent.
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong–Edited by Winston W. Parley