Ministry of Agriculture, IFAD Conclude Field Mission in Bong, Nimba and Lofa.

Ministry of Agriculture, IFAD Conclude Field Mission in Bong, Nimba and Lofa

Senior representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) recently wrapped up a weeklong field supervision mission across Bong, Nimba and, Lofa Counties. The purpose of this mission was to provide crucial support and monitor the progress of agricultural projects on the grounds.

Prior to commencing the field mission, the IFAD project management team convened an inception meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture office in Congo Town. During this meeting, updates on progress and, achievements of the projects were presented to representatives from MOA, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), and IFAD. Key accomplishments highlighted included the construction of warehouses for farmer cooperatives, establishment of cocoa seed gardens, training programs for farmers and extension service providers, procurement and distribution of farming equipment, and improvement to farm-to-market roads.

Throughout the week, the field supervision mission focused on visiting various agricultural sites and engaging with local farmers and cooperatives. In Bong County, the team visited vegetable farmers in Gbornor Town, Suakoko District, as well as the Zowienta Youth Empowerment Development Multipurpose Cooperative, which is engaged in rice production. Meanwhile, in Nimba County, visits were made to cocoa farmers in Galah; cassava processing facilities in Ma-Layter Cooperative; and cocoa seed gardens in Beplay.

The field supervision mission team comprised senior officials including Mr. Moses Gbanyan, Deputy Agriculture Minister for Regional Development Research and Extension, IFAD delegates, project management personnel, monitoring and evaluation specialists, agronomists, and county field staff.

Upon conclusion of the mission, Deputy Agriculture Minister Gbanyan expressed satisfaction with the progress witnessed thus far, particularly praising the impact of the cocoa seed garden initiative on beneficiary farmers. He emphasized the importance of such projects in improving the livelihoods of farmers and encouraged further engagement in the cocoa sector. Minister Gbanyan also commended the project team for their efforts in providing comprehensive training to farmers, leading to the adoption of improved farming methods and practices.

However, Minister Gbanyan also highlighted areas for improvement, particularly in Lofa County, where he identified a gap in the extension service delivery system due to limited MOA staff presence. He underscored the importance of ensuring adequate support and monitoring for beneficiaries to guarantee the sustainability of agricultural initiatives.

Liberia's cocoa industry has long faced challenges such as low productivity, outdated farming practices, limited access to improved seeds and inputs, and inadequate agricultural extension services. Furthermore, factors like erratic weather patterns and infrastructure deficiencies further impede cocoa production and quality.

In response to these challenges, the IFAD project has implemented various initiatives aimed at enhancing productivity, building capacity, and increasing farmers' income. These efforts include the construction of warehouses, establishment of cocoa seed gardens, provision of training programs, procurement of farming equipment, and improvement of farm-to-market roads.

As Liberia continues to prioritize agricultural development, collaborations between government agencies and international organizations like IFAD are essential in driving sustainable growth and prosperity within the sector.

#BuildingCapacity #ImprovingFarms #IncreasingFarmersIncome