AEL Dedicates US$56,400 Farming Equipments, Facilities To Local Farmers In Margibi
As part of its Liberia Ebola Recovery Project; Promoting Access to Resources for the most Vulnerable, the Association of Evangelicals Liberia (AEL) has dedicated several farming equipment and facilities to local farmers in Margibi County aimed at boosting the Agriculture sector and enhancing food productivity in the Country.
The pieces of equipment include four Rice Milling Machines, four Power Tillers and its accessories as well as four storage facilities (buildings) and Threshers respectively.
The value of the pieces of equipment and the facilities is put at fifty-six thousand four hundred United States dollars (US$56,400).
The project is being funded by Jersey through Tearfund, a UK-based Christian Organization partnering with the Association of Evangelicals Liberia.
AEL’s Project Supervisor in the County, Bobby B. Konata said the recent dedication is in continuation of the previous dedication of some of the storage facilities and rice milling machines made by the organization.
He indicated that the project focuses on what he calls value addition stating that Liberians have had this kind of farm in the Country where for so long farmers have very small farms and after harvest is done it’s just big enough to feed the family not even for the next farming season.
It is for this reason Mr. Konata said the AEL has thought to encourage farmers to have bigger farms. He pointed out that in order to have bigger farms, the farmers have to take one step further from just the cutlasses and hoes by giving them some machines that they can be able to use to develop the swamp and thereafter add value.
He intoned that part of the project is contemplating on having farmers to go beyond eating and be able to sell and feed their districts and if possible the County at large.
“So with these rice milling machines they are able to produce by far more rice, the machine is able to make one ton of rice in an hour so if it has the capacity to have even up to ten tons they are able to do that just in ten hours within a day” he explained.
Additionally, Mr. Konata said when the people are able to feed themselves the noise that is ongoing in the Country will be reduced. He stated that because of the abject poverty and the high rate of hunger people tend to vent out their anger so easily.
Bobby B. Konata intoned that with the provision of the machines to the farmers it will help the government in a very substantial way in reducing the level of abject poverty in the Community, as there will be food security and opportunity will be created for the citizens to work and their minds will be taken out of other things that will not be necessary for them as people.
Konata recounted that there are four hundred farmers that cut across the Gibi and Kakata Health Districts that are benefiting from the project.
He said AEL is in 16 different Communities within the two Districts and each Community has 25 persons per group. He indicated that lots of these farmers are being trained in operating and maintaining the machines adding that even though it is quite strange but they will have to get used to it.
Bobby then said with the support of AEL the farmers are involved into vegetable production such as pepper, okra, cucumber and in cassava production explaining that because AEL has realized that cassava production is one of the leading crops within Margibi as such; it is now working on negotiating with partner to see how cassava processing machines can be added for the farmers to benefit from the adding of value to cassava.
The AEL’s Project Supervisor then said the Organization is in seven Counties especially in the WASH, food and security sectors among others trying to help the government in buttressing the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development because they know that the government alone cannot do it as it takes partners, local and international organizations to make it work.
He maintained that it is based on this reason AEL will continue to be a committed partner to government in ensuring that government achieves, terming Agriculture as one of the key pillars.
Bobby asserted that the project is in its third year and hopefully by 2020 AEL will be pulling out and the project will be managed by the government stating, ‘that is why I am happy today that we can have local authority from Margibi County that are able to witness and see exactly what AEL is doing so that in the absence of AEL monitoring can continue’.
He called on the farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture Margibi branch to ensure that a proper management team is set up to manage and maintain the machines while they are in operation.
For her part, the County Agriculture Coordinator in Margibi E. Musu Tuah Younn urged the farmers especially the women to take the pieces of equipment as their personal properties.
“We have to know our responsibility as father or wife, if you know your responsibility as father or wife then you will do the proper implementation of those pieces of equipment that are being given to you because you know most of the times when the men leave maybe you go on kuu or you go to work the children will cry on the mama; most of the children hunger problem on the mother so we as mothers we should be the first person to this thing as our personal property” she warned.
The MOA Margibi Coordinator vowed to retrieve the pieces of equipment as per the memorandum of understanding if the beneficiaries cannot make proper use of those machines. She thanked AEL for the initiative and assured the organization that her office will play a major role in the maintenance aspect of the equipment.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries of the project have lauded AEL for the provision of the equipment and storage facilities and at the same time promised to have them used for the intended purpose and properly maintained.