U.S. Farmers MobilizIing Resources To Support Liberian Agriculturalists
Grand Cape Mount – With the drop in the prices of major export commodities like iron ore and rubber, one sector which might make a cause the economy to have a major turnaround is agriculture.
Both the President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai have expressed the need to invest in agriculture as the recipe in curbing Liberia’s harsh economic reality.
In attempt to boost up that effort, a Liberian veteran agriculture specialist Suliman Vainga Kamara was able to bring into the country two enterprising U.S farmers, Jennifer and Pete Harshly to assess the level of farming and how they can help local farmers to improve on their method of farming.
Morris McCarthy, in middle of his swamp rice farm, had to leave his daily chores to come and greet farmers like him who had come from the U.S to meet with local farmers and see how they could be of help.
Dropping his tool, he came under the shade to welcome the pair. He expressed joy and began to narrate the difficulties they are faced with on a daily basis.
He named the lack of capacity and farming equipment as some of the impediment farmers are confronted with in increasing their yield.
Jennifer Harshly urged her local counterpart to be opened up to new ideas, adding that innovation is a key to successful farming.
She recounted her experience as a novice, adding that it takes determination and hard work to be able to succeed in farming.
Jennifer Hashley promised to work with Suliman to help mobile resources to improve the agriculture sector in Liberia.
Jennifer Hashley is the Project Director of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP) where Suliman Vainga also worked as Technical/Cooperative Marketing Coordinator.
He husband, Peter Hashley, is managing director for the multimillion dollar Godman Community Farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA.
Vainga considers Pete as a complete Man in Agro-Development Enterprise, saying that the farm managed by Pete comprises of vegetables, fruits and Livestock.
Jennifer was amazed to see that farmer were braving the storm in the midst of the challenges to get involved into farming. Like most of the farmers Jennifer met in Grand Cape Mount, she is similarly working with entry farmers in the United States.
Jennifer and Pete were in Liberia as a special guest to Mr. Suliman Vainga Kamara, a veteran agriculture specialist (agronomist & agribusiness specialist) in Liberia.
While in the country, Jennifer and Pete paid courtesy visits to Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Moses M. Zinnah, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information System (LISGIS) Director General Hon. T. Edward Liberty (Dr.), Community of Hope Agriculture Project, Urban Rice farm, in Zubah Town, Paynesville.
They also visited Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County, where they inspected several agricultural projects including Swamp Rice Product, Women Peanut projects, Youth Agriculture Cassava production and Vegetable Projects, and Cocoa Nursery project initiated over the years by Mr. Vainga.
According to Vainga, the duo’s visit to Liberia is considered a dream come through, adding that this visit was planned 12-15 years ago.
Jennifer and her husband promised to work with Vainga in mobilizing resources for the farmers, adding that youths will be at the center.
“Suliman was always thinking about his people and homeland and always reminding us at NESFP that he wanted to return home and serve his people through Agriculture Empowerment and Creation of New Generation of Farmers in preparation to replace aged farmers that are gradually disappearing on the surface of the earth, Liberia,” Jennifer added.
Vainga and Jennifer worked for five consecutive years at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP), an outreach immigrant program for Tufts University Nutritional School (Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy) in Boston, Massachusetts, United State of America.
The NESFP is established to help immigrants who were farmers, agriculturists and people who had passion for farming in their homeland and want to do farming in the United States of America.
While in Tewor District, Jennifer and Pete also visited schools and clinics in the community. Despite the deplorable situation of these facilities and the hardship experienced by the staff, they appreciated the great sacrifices made by the staff.
The citizens of Kpendekor town in Tewor District gowned both Pete and Jennifer in traditional attires for visit to Grand Cape Mount.