(Monrovia, Saturday, April 11, 2020): In fulfillment of the Ministry of Agriculture’s new vision to shift from subsistence to mechanized farming, Agriculture Minister, Jeanine Milly Cooper, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a local farm, Kpawee Farm, for the use of a power tiller in preparation of the planting season.
The power tiller was among several donated agriculture equipment and implements –dusty with spider web increasing on them –have been kept at the ministry’s warehouse off Somalia Drive, now renamed Japan Freeway.
Rice mills, poultry feed mills among others were donated to the Government of Liberia by multiple donors for farmers between 2014 to 2020.
A power tiller is a two-wheeled tractor normally used in preparing soil, sowing seeds, planting seeds. Additionally, it helps in pumping water, harvesting, threshing and transporting crops.
The United Nations’ food assistance agency, World Food Programme (WFP), in January donated several power tillers to the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to help support farmers move to mechanized farming.
“We cannot allow the power tillers to be kept at our warehouse for spider web to get on them when farmers need them badly. For this reason, we started to engage farmers to use them ahead of the upcoming farming season and Kpawee Farm is the first beneficiary”, Minister Cooper said.
Kpawee Farm is located in the northern Liberia bustling cross-border and commercial town of Ganta in Nimba County near the Republic of Guinea. It is situated 265 km (164 miles) north of the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
Established by a Liberian, Sei Kidau, in 2010, it is an integrated 150-acre farm of oil palm, vegetables, low and upland rice.
Access to mechanized farming implements has been a major constraint for Liberian farmers.
Minister Cooper said: “The power tiller will be used on a three-month basis –as per the MOU –by Kpawee Farm. We urge Kpawee Farm to also lend to other farmers in the Ganta area who will be in need of them. As a ministry, our role is to work with and support farmers to ensure food sufficiency through food production”.
Josephus Stewart Belleh, manager of Kpawee Farm, lauded the Ministry for the loan of the power tiller, adding, “We are excited about the power tiller. It is a gesture we have long been awaiting and it will help boost our food production”.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Honourable J. Nagbe Sloh, Member of the House of Representatives from Sinoe County and Honorable George Forboh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Regional Development, Research and Extension.