Yekepa, Nimba – ArcelorMittal’s Vice President for Environmental and Sustainable Development, Grace Barrasso, has assured farmers under AML’s Biodiversity Conservation Project (BCP) that the company will continue its support to them as long as it continues mining activities in Liberia.
Madam Barrasso recently visited two farming sites and participated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ArcelorMittal Liberia and the Co-Management Committee on the conservation of the East Nimba Nature Reserve (ENNR).
In New Yekepa where the ArcelorMittal Vice President for Environmental and Sustainable Development visited a swamp rice farm, the farmers excitedly welcomed her, presenting the traditional kola nuts as a sign of “pure heart” and acceptance of AML in their community. Additionally, the farmers presented fruits including bananas as a way of showing the guests what they produce and eat in their locale.
There are over 25 farmers in New Yekepa who formed a cooperative group known as Fia-wa-seh (laziness is not good). During the visit, each of them expressed how grateful they were for AML’s biodiversity program and what they need to augment their farming efforts to reduce pressure on the forest.
Speaking through an interpreter, the farmers collectively said they were included in the biodiversity project this year and coming on board is one of great excitement for them.
While they have their individual farmers, the farmers said they work two times a week on their group farm, and they are hopeful of exerting more efforts to make a larger farm next year where they can plant varieties of crops.
To fulfil their joy and willingness to engage in the Biodiversity Conservation Agriculture Programme, the farmers asked AML to help build a storage facility and make available some medicines for them.
In response to each group during the visit, Ms. Barrasso assured that the Biodiversity Conservation Program is a significant component of the programs AML supports and that the company will always help farmers implement projects under the BCP.