EU, GOL Launch Farmers Fishers Trade For Small Holders Farmers In Liberia
Monrovia – Agriculture Minister Jeanine Cooper says using agriculture as a business is important for Liberia to move beyond subsistence farming and fishing.
According to Minister Cooper, agricultural must now shift from its current stage to a more advanced level that will promote human development.
Speaking Tuesday at a forum for smallholder farmers and fishers, Minister Cooper said doing so must ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all.
“The program is on track with discussion around the world on ensuring safe and notorious food,” Minister Cooper averred.
However, she believes it is equally important to address challenges against achieving such a goal.
Minister Cooper further noted that Liberia must put into place mechanism that will address future challenges of food scarcity that may come about.
She at the same time expressed delight over Liberia’s partnership with the European Union and others to ensure food security in Liberia.
During the forum, European Union Head of Delegation to Liberia, Laurent Delahousse, said by putting smallholders in the limelight, farmers, most especially women will become managers of their own processing businesses.
“They are still the main labour force in these food-related sectors in Liberia. We all know that feeding a nation is no mean feat. Many countries around the world are still depending on import of their main staple foods, and Liberia is no different,” Delahousse said.
He stated that the EU is interested in this development, because it values inclusiveness of those groups in society without financial, neither political clout, but can make a different in transforming a nation.
Dehousse believes by building food system from the bottom through base approaches that seek to make the most out of local assets will create stronger and more resilient system.
He also said the EU intervention is focused on increasing productivity sustainably, improving nutrition, adding value to selected products beyond farm gate, supporting development of commercial and financially viable enterprises as well as increasing integration among other.
Meanwhile, Delahousse has committed the EU to helping Liberia increase food and nutrition security as well as the country’s potential for exporting food to the rest of the world.
For his part, the Director of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries at the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, Zizi Kpadeh said smallholder farming is important to food security, as Liberia remain challenged with feeding it’s citizens.
He said Liberia with the second largest coast in West Africa, must now begin to produce enough fish to supply its citizens.
Currently, according to him, Kpadeh added that local fishermen do not have the capacities to supply the entire population and that such initiative will greatly help.
Meanwhile, Kpadeh noted that despite this initiative, Liberia must now move from smallholder farming to a larger scale.