World Food Programme Renews Pledge to Support Farmers in Liberia


Montserrado County – It was a festive moment for a group of women and their donors on Magarma Farm located near Kpekor in rural Montserrado County when they gathered to reap what they have sowed over the last few months.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh – [email protected]

Margama farm is owned by group of Liberian women under the banner Magarma Farmer Group who are engaged in the cultivation of local farm products in Liberia including swam rice, piggery, poultry and vegetables across four of Liberia’s 15 counties; namely Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Bong and Grand Gedeh Counties.

Speaking at the official launch of the Magarma Farm rice harvest on Thursday, October 26, the Deputy Country Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Liberia, Asif Bhutto pledged the WFP support to the group and small farm holders across Liberia to achieve their desired yields.

Mr. Bhutto, on behalf of the organization donated a rice thresher machine to Magarma and disclosed that in 2017, the WFP has supported over 6000 local farmers in ten counties and is committed to lobbying with other partners for additional support, especially to women and youth farmers.

He lauded the effort of the women and noted that if their initiative is replicated across Liberia, there would be sufficient food in the country.

“We look forward to working with the Ministry of Agriculture to take them to another level.”

“Farming is a priority and food security is something we need to address.

“The best way we can do that is to prioritize agriculture and give support to small farm holders. We are prepared to do that.”

“The ladies have set a real precedent; and if such results are over the country, there will be sufficient food in the country,” he averred.

Also speaking, the Director of Community Empowerment at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Preston Anderson thanked Women for their exceptional work and pledged the Ministry’s continuous support to them.

“Our prayer as in institution is to see many farmers move rice production in the lowland areas because lowland rice gives lots of earnings.”

“We encourage you to continue your production. We will always be there to provide you technical guidance as we did for your group in the past,” he pledged.

Giving the overview, the group leader, Madam Esther King-Lincoln explained the group was founded in 1997 in Matadi Estate by eight internally displaced women from Central and South-Eastern Liberia to augment the food ration given them by humanitarian organizations.

Madam King-Lincoln furthered that the group has grown into a consortium and in addition to Montserrado County, they are now operating in Bong, Grand Bassa and Grand Gedeh Counties on more than 125 acres of land.

“We are involved in piggery, swam rice farming, market garden of assorted vegetables, poultry, and the raising of local birds, agricultural skills training, mainly for students and young women.”

“Since our establishment, we have been able to trained more than 50 women and young people in various aspects of basic agriculture; some of whom are now self-employed in Bong, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa and  Montserrado Counties,” she averred.

She thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for donating a tiller machine and that enable them to do their work faster and easier and the World Food program for their support and called on them continue.

She named lack of technical training, storage facilities, modern farming equipment, improved seed and lack of post-harvest processing support as some of the many constraints they are grappling with.

“Through the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, we are able to complete six acres of land because they gave us a power tiller for the first time.”

“Before we were planting rice but it was like one or two lots, and it was very distressing.”

“Birds will eat 70 percent of the rice. So through the help of Minister Wiles (Minister of Agriculture), we were able to get a power tiller that till the soil and do our work faster. We could not believe it. It was so magical.”

“The support of the MOA was backed by the WFP through its Food for Work program; but after three rations we heard that it was cut off.”

“Please bring it back. We want to extend this appreciation to WFP and MOA for taking us from two lots to six acres in rice production,” the Magarma Farmer Group Leader intoned.