CARI is so important to Liberia and beyond. I thought I would share this article I read at Liberia Natural Resource Issues.
Biting the Hand that Feeds
Liberian Observer (http://www.liberianobserver.com)
Created Jan 8 2010 – 4:45am
One of the important pillars upon which this government is constructing its Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) is by increasing production in the supply of homegrown crops heavily relied upon for daily consumption and subsistence in Liberia.
This policy is designed to increase production in the agricultural sector. Where successful, increased production will be followed by the building of adequate storage facilities, a marketing strategy and improved road conditions to facilitate rapid farm-to-market activities.
At the end of last year, the President was asked about accomplishments made in her government by her various ministries that had directly improved the lives of the people.
The President readily referred to the strides made in the agricultural sector. There were bumper crops of rice, cassava and of other food groups on which the population depends largely for consumption and for revenue generation.
It goes without saying that apart from rice, the population largely relies upon cassava. In its versatility, it can be boiled and eaten with a variety of sauces, or pounded to make fufu and dumboy. Because of our dependence on cassava as one of the staple foods of the nation, a project designed to promote the cassava industry is being carried out at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County.
Several varieties of high yielding cassava in an area spanning 16 acres had been planted. The plan was to distribute the sticks to farmers for planting.
Mysteriously, or shall we say, mischievously, elements in Gbarnga torched the area and destroyed the nursery. Fingers are pointing to subsistence farmers, who use the slash-and-burn method to clear their farmlands.
Authorities at CARI and in Gbarnga need to establish a no-go area where squatters cannot enter; those caught within the no-go area should be held for criminal trespass.
The farmers and community dwellers in those areas bordering CARI should be made mindful that the activities of CARI are intended to improve farmers’ agriculture pursuits, and that therefore, they should be cooperating with the effort – not destroying it. Perhaps it has now become imperative for local governments to monitor and or control slash-and-burn operations.
Community dwellers must be conscious that they too have a responsibility to embrace government efforts and promote programs that are intended to make them stand on their own feet.
Any action that is counter-productive to government’s development efforts and programs is akin to biting the hand that feeds you. A continuation is interpreted as sabotage.
In carrying out its programs, government seeks community and individual cooperation in order to meet the common goal of improving life and raising standard which is the expectation of all Liberians.
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