Government of Liberia Urged to Pay More Attention to Rice Production
Monrovia – The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Agriculture and Infrastructure Investment Company (AIIC) is calling on the Liberian Government to pay more attention to the production of the country’s staple food — rice.
CEO Mohammed V. Kamara made the call over the week after returning from Cotonou, Benin, where he represented Liberia at the General Convention of West African Rice Production.
Kamara narrated that he gave a detail insight of Liberia’s rice sector, including production and land acquisition. He also told the conferees about the ecology. According to him, he included in his lecture the associated challenges, too, and they were similar to other countries’, not excluding farm-to-market road connectivity and acquiring land.
“Representing our respective countries, we came up with some resolutions relating to development and reduction of importation of rice in West Africa. We also came up some rice planting methodologies, including the SRI method, which reduces the quantity of rice needed to be planted,” he said.
Kamara stated that the convention came up with a five-year action plan to aid the region’s rice planters as majority don’t know much about planting “less rice.”
“We all agreed that we should urge our governments and their partners to invest in rice production. We realized that if we produce our own rice, most of the moneys we spend outside of our countries, especially in Liberia, approximately US$280,000,000 would be circulated in our own countries base on the kind of rice we export,” he stated.
Kamara disclosed that one that they are focusing on homegrown rice production is because the ones produced at home are more nutritional than those that are imported into the sub-region because of organic matters.
He used the occasion to urge Liberians to be mindful with eating imported foods especially rice; adding: “Most of the imported rice do not go through laboratory processes showing the understanding of production and expiry dates. Most of the rice coming to African countries are re-bagged.”
“Most of our people, who are now suffering from Diabetes got the sickness from what they had eaten especially imported rice. Here in Liberia, we want to bring back school feeling program which of course the government of Liberia is also involved in that direction. Before we do that, we need to firstly focus on the type of food, especially rice our future leaders are going to be eating,” he added.
Kamara disclosed that he is expected to shortly make an official presentation to the Ministry of Agriculture on what was agreed in Benin.
“We are hoping to follow the footsteps of Nigeria that have closed her borders with other neighboring countries that are helping to import rice into Nigeria market. That country is helping farmers in that country to produce more rice for local consumption. The steps taken by that government is really moving the country forward in area of local rice consumption and we hope to do the same here in Liberia,” he cautioned.
He opined that if the Liberia government agrees with their plans, the country would be divided into four zones of rice producing counties. He also stated that in their plan, they will also give attention to counties that are producing less rice so that they will be able to produce more rice in the future.