Two UN agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme have joined forces with the Government of Liberia to strengthen conflict prevention and improved alternative livelihoods for communities within concession affected areas in Bomi and Nimba County.
The project titled: “Strengthen Conflict Prevention through the Establishment of Multi-stakeholder Platforms and Improved Alternative Livelihood within Concession Affected Areas”, will improve alternative livelihoods for concession affected communities for human security in concession-affected areas in Bomi and Nimba Counties.
The initiative is funded by the United Nations Peace Building Fund.
Under outcome 2 “Rice, cassava and vegetable production enhanced in 2 concession affected communities, “implemented by FAO targets 1,200 mostly women and youth (60% female and 40%male) within the two concession counties.
Speaking at the Launch of outcome 2 of the project in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, FAO Representative in Liberia, Madam Mariatou Njie said FAO has worked to promote agricultural development as a means for contributing to peace, bringing together the areas of its mandate, including fisheries, forestry, and natural resource management.
Madam Njie added that:
“Agriculture, as you know, is the dominant sector supporting the livelihoods for the majority of households in the fragile and most post-conflict countries for peacebuilding. Efforts to revive the agricultural sector and trade, and increase food security, have had positive effects on the sustainability of peace”.
She noted that the creation of jobs, particularly for young people, and the enhancement of livelihoods in the agricultural sector help reduce the risk of violence.
“The question of food security and peacebuilding has an important gender dimension. In many post-conflict contexts, women are responsible for family food security and provide the majority of agricultural labor”, said Madam Njie.
The FAO Representative further stated that the project targets women and youth, especially youth because they are mainly the vehicles through which conflicts are driven. FAO and UNDP will jointly implement the project in close partnership with the government of Liberia. The FAO component which is Outcome 2 of the PBF project focuses on providing alternative livelihoods for concession affected communities to help reduce their vulnerability, consolidate peace, and strengthen human security in conflict areas.
“The project has three outputs: Output 2.1: Rice, cassava and vegetable production enhanced in two concession affected communities; Output 2.2: Quality of milled rice, cassava and vegetable improved and Output2.3: Income generating abilities of women in tow concession sites enhanced”, Madam Njie concluded.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Mogana Flomo, Nimba County Agriculture Coordinator Mr. Samuel Kahlay said FAO as a traditional partner to the Ministry of Agriculture has provided capacity building support through the training of its extension officers to support farmers in the county.
Mr. Kahlay outlined the longstanding partnership between the Ministry and FAO noting that through the Farmer Field School (FFS), extension officers can deliver to the farmers’ hands-on training to improve production and productivity.
He added that FAO through the joint programs has worked with the MoA to provide quality seeds and farm input to farmers within the county.
For his part, Mr. Paul K. Karnue, Secretary to the Superintendent pledged the fullest cooperation of the county authority to ensure that the project meets its intended objective. He said the county welcomed the effort of the UN partners in working with the county to improve the lives of farmers.
Mr. Karnue who spoke on behalf of the Superintendent, Dorr Cooper lamented that the county addressing the needs of youth through employment opportunity has been one of the core objective of the county leadership and with this project that seeks to improve livelihood, the leadership of the county will provide the necessary support to the farmers.
UN Peace Building Fund to provide livelihood source for women and youth
The joint initiative funded by the UN Peace Building fund is designed to provide alternative livelihood source for women and youth living in concession affected communities. It will provide capacity building, through the introduction of simple innovative technologies to attract the youth in agriculture. It will also promote equal participation and social cohesion.
The eighteen months initiative will further consolidate peaceful co-existence between concessionaires and community dwellers through mitigated and preventive measures. The project will also support the establishment of more effective, governance and administration system, ready to implement comprehensive reforms to improve equitable access to farmlands and security and provide sustainable management of the environment. The joint effort will also strengthen the emerging multi-stakeholder platforms for the non-judicial mitigation of land concession disputes and develop alternative livelihoods for affected communities to prevent land conflict escalation.