By C. Winnie Saywah
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the South-South Cooperation (SSC) Program’s significant success is a perfect medium for the transfer of practical knowledge, skills, ideas and culture for sustainable rural development.
Delivering remarks at the opening of the project review meeting yesterday, the FAO Representative in Liberia, Jean-Alexandre Scaglia said with the project, the United Nations partners can be assured that they are at the heart of the UN mandate.
Mr. Scaglia emphasized that demonstrative skills of the Chinese experts is made realistic by their presence at the various sites where they live and work and that farmers could always tap into new skills due to its availability as well as the government’s own effort to deploy 38 university graduates at each of the five duty stations full time.
He announced how during the year under review in an effort to train Liberians, demonstration sites were constructed and developed at every duty station with the involvement of local farmers and technicians.
Mr. Scaglia said the training at the demonstration sites is mainly fishery, rice and vegetable production; animal husbandry, plant protection, water conservation and agriculture machinery operations and maintenance.
The FAO-Liberia boss said it is demonstrated that a rural family can earn up to US$600 yearly by growing vegetables if they adopt the proper technology and urged the local technicians as well as the 24 member team of the SSC to review the project in its first one year to develop clearer and improved roadmaps for bigger successes and outputs in the coming project years.
However, he mentioned that Africa must double its agricultural production in the next ten years or the continent might experience critical situations noting that food insecurity breeds political instability and that agriculture has proven to be one of the major contributors to peace keeping in any conflict prone country.
He said to date Liberia is importing 60 percent of its food which is a sign of lack of sustainability and that should not be the case when Liberia has sufficient waste lands and plenty of rainfall and plenty of everything it takes to grow enough food.
The Deputy Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sizi Subah proxied for the Minister of Agriculture and outlined the ministry’s support to the SSC project in its first and second years of implementation.
While the Project Coordinator Zubah Gorvego spoke about the challenges and achievements alongside Chinese SSC team Coordinator Li Zhi, they spoke about the water system as well as the slow pace of acquiring tools for the project.
The five sites are located in CARI and Tumutu in Bong County; Klay in Bomi County; Center Songhai and Measuagoon in Montserrado County.