Ministry of Agriculture and the Japan International Cooperation Agency Launch “LibRice” for Smallholder Farmers in Bong County

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Delegates of the Japan International Cooperation Agency posed for Picture after the event

Monrovia – The Ministry of Agriculture and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched what they termed as LibRice in an attempt to improve rice production in Liberia.

The rice production project is a smallholder farmers’ initiative. It is the first Technical Cooperation project between the Liberian government and JICA.

The LibRice Project that was signed on January 7, 2021, is four years agricultural intervention project with the aim to empower smallholder farmers to increase their rice yield in Bong County, a county that is believed to be the foremost county for domestic rice production in Liberia.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Agriculture Madam Jeanine Milly Cooper said the innovation that is going to be used during the project will complement other agriculture activities that the Ministry is undertaking around the country.

“I can see very exciting results coming from this project because I can see that you are going to be working with County Agriculture Coordinators, District Agriculture Officers and Regional Development staff so that the learning and the innovation that has brought for this project don’t have to go through a trigger-down process,” Minister Cooper said.

She added: “So as training is being done in Bong County, other regional development staffs should be involved so that they can take the innovation and learning to others part of the country for more food production and capacity building.”

Also, the speaking the Country Representative of JICA Mrs. Maki Ozawa praised the Minister of Agriculture for initiating what she termed as an important project.

“It is our honor to be here,” JICA Country Representative graciously said.

According to her, JICA intends to work with the government of Liberia hand-in-hand instead of waiting for the outcome of the LibRice Project.

“We are happy to contribute to the development in Liberia -to increase in the area of food production in Bong County with smallholder’s farmers to sustain them especially during this COVID-19 time. Japanese will work closely with the government to enhance the farmers’ ownership of the project,” Madam Ozawa added.

The LibRice Project will help improve rice cultivation techniques, disseminate improved rice cultivation techniques, empower the capacity of participating farmers groups for conducting group activities and enhance the monitoring and evaluation of the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture.