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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Sen. Findley Pumps over US$100,000 into Farming
Updated: August 26, 2009 – 6:33am
News Section:Community News


Sen Findley touring his 250 acres of farmland beginninng with his rice farm
Vows to Support Bassa Farmers
By: Stephen Binda from Grand Bassa County

GRAND BASSA COUNTY — As Liberia strives toward achieving its millennium development goals by 2015, a few obstacles persist.

One such obstacle is self-sufficiency in the area of food production.

Instead of attacking the Liberian government’s efforts, however, Grand Bassa County Senior Senator, Gbehzohngar Findley, seems to be buttressing those efforts by investing thousands of dollars in agriculture.

Speaking during a tour of his 250-acre farm in Grand Bassa over the weekend, Findley said being an engineer, he was happy to be involved in farming.

He explained that before becoming a politician, he was also a potential farmer in his county.

“I love being a farmer,” he said, “and let me say that today or tomorrow, when I shall have retired as a politician, I will return to my farm. That’s why I am laying the foundation.”

The Grand Bassa County Senator stated that in 2005 he began farming on his current 250-acre plot of land in his home county.

Commenting on the workforce on the farm, Senator Findley said owing to the amount of work on the farm, he had employed more than 25 Liberians who also live there.


For more on this go to The Liberian Observer Online,

 Copyright 2009 Liberian

Observer Online




99-year-old Samuel Mitchell Gbediah of River Cess County

Highlights Agriculture, Road Networks

By: Edwin M. Fayia from Rivercess

Updated: August 18, 2009 – 10:47am News Section:Community News

 RIVERCESS COUNTY — A prominent elder and son of a warrior in Gbediah Town, River Cess County, has called on the central government and other stakeholders to prioritize and decentralize the rehabilitation of feeder roads to enhance agricultural activities in the country.

Samuel Mitchell Gbediah, 99, made the statement recently in Gbediah Town, rural River Cess County, in an interview with the Daily Observer.


“The empowerment of farmers in rural Liberia by giving them access to good road networks will enhance the growth and development of the Liberian economy,” Gbediah asserted.

“To date, in the Gbediah Town Community,” he added, “more than 200 farms have been cultivated by farmers of the area. However, the Ministry of Agriculture has not been forthcoming with the much needed assistance, specifically seed rice, over the years.”

Another problem the Gbediah Town farmers are encountering, Old Man Gbediah pointed out, was the indiscriminate manner in which wild animals in the area were eating their rice and other cash crops. He underscored the need for urgent assistance in addressing these problems.

The legendary elder also disclosed that hunters in the area were being harassed by men claiming to be representatives of certain institutions. He told the Daily Observer that farmers in the area were in dire need of farming tools, seed rice, technical support and extension services, including food preservation products.

For more on this go to The Liberian Observer Online,




Liberian leader satisfied with development projects in Bong County

Posted January 21, 2009

(MONROVIA-Jan. 18, 2009): President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has toured a number of development projects in Bong County, expressing satisfaction of the level of progress taking place at the sites. An Executive Mansion release says the President over the weekend, toured a Chinese run rubber processing factory in Nyanforla, Salala district, the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), a proposed agriculture technology center, being built by the government of the People’s Republic China and a hybrid rice development project in Kpatawee, also being supervised by Chinese agricultural experts in Bong County.

Accompanied by Chinese ambassador Zhou Yuxiao, the President said the setting up of a rubber processing factory in the country was in line with Government’s efforts to ensure that the capacity of the rubber industry is expanded, through the provision of skills training and employment opportunities for Liberians. Operated by the Lee Group of Enterprises, the President said government will fully support the project because it is in line with it’s determination to have rubber companies process finished rubber products in the country. Speaking of the agricultural research centers, the Liberian leader said, they represent a demonstration of government’s determination to expand the agricultural base of the country through mechanized farming. Chinese ambassador Zhou, said his country remains supportive of government’s efforts to meet its goal of self-sufficiency in food production. Ambassador Zhou put the cost of the agricultural technology center at US $5-million. The Center, he said, will be fully functional in a year and a half, and turned into a commercial enterprise after three years. Liberia is one of thirty African countries benefiting from the Chinese gesture.

The Liberian leader, has meanwhile, lauded war affected youths of Bong County for engaging in productive endeavors. President Johnson Sirleaf described the decision of the youth to become constructive citizens as a move worth emulation. Government, the President said, welcomes such self-help initiatives and will provide the necessary support to sustain them.

Supported by the Bangladeshi battalion, the Bong Agro farm project involves about 4-hundred war affected youth and their families. Presently, harvesting is taking place of 2 acres of swam rice, 3-acres of hilly ground rice, 4-acres of cassava, 3-acres of a variety of fruits and vegetables including watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber, ginger, among others.

“BANBATT-14 is not here only to maintain peace and stability, but working for peace building in Liberia in many ways,” a battalion officer said during the program on the outskirts of Gbarnga. Also speaking at the occasion, the chairman of Youth & Development of Bong County, Mr. Mark Dowee, commended the Liberian President for accepting the youths’ invitation to visit the project site at short notice. He assured the President that with additional support from Government, more youth will join in constructive activities for the growth and development of the country.

The project which kicked off in November 2007 now covers 25-acres of land provided by the authorities of Bong County.

Source: Executive Mansion – Liberia


Invading army-worms enter major border town
Written by Clarence Jackson
Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Report reaching Star Radio says invading armyworms have attacked a major town along the Liberia-Guinea border.

The Chief Medical Officer of Bong County told Star Radio, the armyworms numbering several million have invaded Lawein Town forcing residents to flee.

Dr. Garfee Williams said ten of the ninety-six houses in Lawein Town have been abandoned and people were seeking refuge on farms untouched by the pests.

According to Dr. Garfee the caterpillars are climbing the walls of houses and taking over rice farms in the area.

The Bong County Chief Medical Officer said of the affected towns and villages Lawein was the worst hit with creeks and wells badly contaminated.

Dr. Garfee recommends a massive aerial spraying exercise to rid central Liberia of armyworms.

Also, government has appealed for concerted international efforts to combat the swarm of armyworms that have invaded central Liberia.

Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe said the extent of the damage being caused by the pests requires the help of all international partners.

Minister Toe told Star Radio helicopters were urgently needed to carry out aerial spraying of places attacked by the worm-like caterpillars.

Dr. Toe also appealed for motorized sprayers in order to spray treetops that have been permanently seized by the caterpillars.

On Tuesday Government launched a minimum effort using Knapsack sprayers to combat the swarm of armyworms.

The Ministry of Agriculture has deployed more than thirty technicians in the affected areas to spray the surrounding bushes with insecticides.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has warned residents of Zota and Suakoko Districts not to eat dead chickens during its ten-day operation in the districts.

According to agricultural experts the insecticides currently being applied remains active for seven days before disintegrating.