Agricultural Education and Training


Podcasts can inform poor farmers

Lawrence D. Gudza

13 January 2010

 The podcasts are recorded by members of local communities Practical Action Southern Africa, Zimbabwe Podcasts are helping people progress from subsistence farming in Zimbabwe, says Practical Action researcher Lawrence Gudza. People in developing countries often lack information that could transform their economic circumstances. Those in remote parts of Africa, in particular, could benefit from knowledge that would help them move up from subsistence farming to become successful, commercial smallholders.

To do this, they need better, up-to-date information on agricultural production and management, such as how to identify, treat and control livestock diseases and how best to harvest, store and market their crops.

Some African countries, such as Zimbabwe, try to provide this information with agricultural extension services. But these are often under-resourced, uncoordinated and unsustainable. Subsistence farmers rarely receive information when and where they need it, or in a format and language that they understand.

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Story from the Liberian Observer Online:

Rural Women Farmers Trained in Mechanized Production
Updated: September 10, 2009 – 8:36pm

Cross-section of participants at CARI workshop for rural women
US$777,000 Earmarked for Training, Others

By: Edwin M. Fayia from Bong County
MONROVIA — The Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with several major donors as well as support partners, have begun the training for more than 74 women farmer groups in three of Liberia’s leading agriculture-oriented counties.

As a result of a negotiated grant of more than US$777,000 from the Government of Demark, the FAO and CARI have selected Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties for the training of the rural women farmers in the use of power tiller machines in order to maximize the production of the nation’s staple food, rice.

Speaking at the formal launch of the 17-day training at CARI in Suakoko, Bong County, last week, Liberia’s Acting Agriculture Minister, James Logan, urged the rural women to remain grateful to Liberian leader, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for empowering women in the country.

Logan added that as a result of the nationwide County Development Agenda, the critical issue of women in the farming sector has become a key factor. Now women are on the verge of being trained in the use of mechanized farming for the production of more food, they should indeed take center stage in that regard.

He then appealed to the participants to consider the 17-day training as crucial and take the instruction seriously in order to make the message of improved food security across the nation meaningful.

Logan also challenged the women to use the power tillers to cultivate more acres of land in their operational areas in order to ensure that more food is produced for the growth and development of the Liberian economy in the years ahead.

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) official also reminded the gathering and the women in particular that the Liberian leader spends sleepless nights thinking about possible alternatives for the overall empowerment and support to all Liberian women across the country.

In his overview presentation, Emmanuel G. Vah, National Consultant for the FAO Liberia, intimated that the training workshop was meant to train farmers in the operation, management and maintenance of power tillers.

The agriculture project, titled “Improved Food Security and Nutrition through Economic Empowerment of Women,” was also geared towards reducing the pressure on women in rural Liberia.

“Within the framework of agriculture,” Vah disclosed, “FAO has received funding from the Danish Government and charged us with the responsibility of providing support to farm mechanization, agro-processing and farm level storage.”

The DANIDA agriculture, he explained, has a case load of 7,961 beneficiaries comprising 43 women groups in the rural women structure of Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.

FAO Assistant Representative for Program in Liberia, Joseph K. Boiwu, pointed out that everywhere the Liberian Government and partners interacted with farmers in the country, the issue of farmers graduating from the use of cutlasses and hoes topped the list of issues for consideration.

“This is to show you that the idea to introduce power tillers in the agriculture sector at this time came from you the farmers,” he told the women.

“It is therefore our hope that you will appreciate the introduction and use of these machines to ensure food production in the country.

“Our agency being a true partner and not a donor took bold steps on behalf of the farmers regarding their interest in mechanization and agro-processing in the country,” Boiwu emphasized.

“Today, we want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Denmark for the grant that will in turn empower rural women farmers across the nation,” he said.

He added that in their initial interaction, the Danish International Development Aid (DANIDA), representatives of the donor country, expressed high interest in supporting those activities that are women-related.

“In Liberia,” he explained, “when it comes to farming, the issues of scratching farms and planting of crops as well as food processing are the responsibility of rural women in the country.

Mr. Boiwu further intimated that the FAO is indeed grateful to the major partners such as the United Nations Development Program, Ministry of Gender and Development, World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Agency for Women (UNIFEM).

He also reminded the women the ‘butter rice’ and ‘pussava’ being imported into the country come from farmers that are using the same modern machines in the cultivation and agro-processing initiatives.

“We want to urge you to please attach seriousness to this genuine agriculture initiative in Liberia,” the FAO official further admonished the rural women farmers.

In closing, Boiwu said that the FAO had been and would always be a partner of the Government and people of Liberia in food, agriculture, forestry and rural development matters.

0Copyright Liberian Observer – All Rights Reserved. This article cannot be re-published without the expressed, written consent of the Liberian Observer. Please contact us for more information or to request publishing permission.
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Copyright 2009 | Liberian Observer Online | www.LiberianObserver.com

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Liberia: ‘Ideal Village’ Latest Project By UN Peacekeepers to Boost Country’s Food Security
26 February 2009
A new 150-acre agricultural village, complete with poultry, a fish pond and school and community-based farms, is the latest initiative by Bangladeshi peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to boost food security, a crucial component to lasting peace in the West African nation.
Inaugurating the “Bangla-Bong Ideal Village,” UNMIL’s Force Commander noted that the country has very fertile soil, excellent land-to-people ratio and wonderful weather, and urged Liberians, especially young people, to use their resources to develop their country.
“If you harness all the great opportunities your fertile land offers, I’m cIf you harness all the great opportunities your fertile land offers, I’m certain that you will one day stand on your feet, and march ahead, and you will be one of the examples in West Africaertain that you will one day stand on your feet, and march ahead, and you will be one of the examples in West Africa,” Lieutenant-General Abu Tayeb Muhammad Zahirul Alam told the community at Maimu Town, near Totota in Liberia’s central province of Bong.
The General encouraged the people of Maimu Town to own the project and manage it well. “This is your property, it is you who have to really nurture it, secure it, and develop it further.”
 
Copyright © 2009 UN News Service
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Chief Zanzan Karwor NamedBest/Most Productive Rice Farmer for 2008
8 December 2008

Voinjama – President Ellen Johnson has lauded Liberian farmers for complementing government’s efforts to ensure that enough food is available on the Liberian market at an affordable rate. The President made particular mention of the participation of farmers throughout this year’s National Agricultural Fair in Voinjama, Lofa County.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader congratulated the winners of this year’s awards for increased food production and other agricultural sectors. The President urged farmers throughout the country not to relent in their drive to increase food production in the country.

At Saturday’s Fair, farmers were awarded prizes in various categories including best/most productive rice farmer, tuber producer, livestock farmer, farmers group, vegetable farmer, among others. The 2008 Best/Most Productive rice farmer was captured by the Chairman of the Traditional Council of Chiefs, Mr. Zanzan Karwor, while second place went to Nimba county superintendent, Mr. Robert Karmei.

First place prize for Best/Most Productive Tuber producer (cassava, potatoes, plantains, yam, etc) went to River Gee, with Grand Cape Mount and Grand Gedeh Counties coming in second and third places respectively. Margibi came first, followed by Bong and Maryland counties in food crops production.

Best/Most productive Livestock Farmer went to Lofa County in first place while Gbarpolu and Grand Kru came in second and third places. In other agricultural areas, Rivercess County was awarded first prize in Fisheries, followed by Grand Bassa and Sinoe counties.

The Distinguished Female Farmer Award was awarded to Madam Josephine Francis of Ajay farms, for best packaging of local produce. The prizes come with cash and other prizes provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. They range from rice thresher won by Chief Zanzan Karwor; Rice winnowers, fishing nets, assorted farming tools (axes, hoes, shovels, etc).

Meanwhile, Lofa county lawmaker and Co-chair of the county’s Legislative Caucus, Representative Malian Jalieba has lauded the Liberian President for the increase in agriculture production. Representative Jalieba attributed the increase to the support being provided by the Liberian government and the international community, based on representations the President has made to the country’s foreign partners. Representative Jaleeba assured the President that given the level of support, Lofa County will eventually regain its status as the Bread basket of Liberia.

This year’s National Agriculture Fair was witnessed by the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Agriculture Ministers of Mano River Union countries, the ambassadors of the United States and China, as well as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-general.

The next National Agriculture Fair, Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe announced, will be held next year in River Gee County in South-eastern Liberia.

Copyright © 2008 Liberia Government.

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