The Acting head for agriculture mechanization and irrigation engineering program at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County has revealed that studies are currently being conducted at the center for the speedy improvement of agriculture productivity.
Speaking in an interview with The Monrovia Times on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at the center, Mr. Anthony Tarplah said as acting head of the department, they have embarked on the fabrication of several farming tools to reduce the high labor farmers face in the sector.
Mr. Tarplah said at present, he alongside with his professional team-mates at CARI are fabricating wielders for testing to ensure that farmers reduce the burden they face during the welding process.
He added that farmers in the County are challenged with wielding in their rice, a condition that poses serious back-ache to them most especially lowland production.
Mr. Tarplah name rotary wielder as the most single best tool farmers would like to use to properly manage their farms for speedy agriculture productivity.
He said after his mentorship with AfricaRice, he experienced that a lot of farmers complained the wielding aspect is hindering their operations.
The CARI agriculture mechanization and irrigation engineering Boss noted that after their experiment with the rotary wielder produced by them, they will visit farmers across Bong County to introduce the new technology to them.
After introducing the wielders to the farmers according to Mr. Tarplah, the ones produced by the CARI team will be distributed to the local farmers to begin using them to save time and speed up their farming practices.
He has meanwhile called on the Liberian government through the Ministry of Agriculture to be more innovative in finding ways to improve the production of Liberian farmers.
He believes that by doing so will help local farmers in the country to cultivate more farming land in their various localities, adding that it will help the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity y and Development.
Mr. Tarplah at the same time said if president George M. Weah must achieve, agriculture must be priority in the country, adding that national government spends over millions of dollars just to import the Country staple food, rice.
The Acting head for agriculture mechanization and irrigation engineering program at the Central Agricultural Research Institute said if the local farmers are empowered through the Ministry of Agriculture, it will help boost agriculture productivity in the various counties across the country.
The Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) located at Suakoko, some 180 km north‐west of Monrovia was created in 1980 from the Central Agricultural Experiment Station (CARES) to conduct both adaptive and applied research in agriculture.
In the 1980s the Institute had seven commodity-based programmes (rice, cassava, cattle, swine, cocoa, coffee, and vegetables) and planning had been initiated for a cropping systems programme (Francis et al., 1995).
However, CARI was devastated by the civil war both in human and physical terms.
The physical infrastructure was severely damaged, the contents of buildings looted and professional and technical staff scattered both in‐country and abroad and in some instances killed.
CARI restarted very limited operations in 2006, focusing on the provision of planting materials for rice (from WARDA), cassava, yams and a limited range of cultivars of maize, beans, and soybeans (from IITA) (Ministry of Agriculture, 2008) a focus which has continued with little change to date.
On the other hand, various initiatives have been mooted since 2007 to re‐vitalize CARI but so far progress has been extremely limited. Ideally, CARI should be a semi-autonomous organ of the Ministry of Agriculture.