“If all goes well, in five years, Liberia will be able to export its staple food rice,” Agriculture Minister Dr. Mogana S. Flomo has disclosed.
Dr. Flomo made the disclosure on Monday in Gbarnga, Bong County where he is currently on a county tour.
Speaking on a local radio in Gbarnga, Dr. Flomo expressed optimism that if the technical plans his ministry has put in place are properly implemented, Liberia will feed itself and begin exporting rice to other countries around the world.
The Agriculture Ministry chief named rice, oil palm, cocoa, vegetable and livestock, among others, as priorities which will be improved during his administration.
Minister Flomo termed as “very simple to do” the production of Liberia’s staple food, noting that all it requires is educating farmers so that producing rice will not be a waste to the economy, making specific reference to the red rice produced in Liberia which is in high demand.
He disclosed that President George Manneh Weah has given him the political will by prioritizing the agriculture sector under the Pro-Poor Agenda.
Speaking further, Minister Flomo said the Agriculture Ministry will for now target the five counties of Lofa, Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and River Gee, where mechanized farming will be introduced by supporting potential farmers in those counties.
He noted that the potential farmers will then extend services to smallholder farmers in their respective surroundings in order to produce more food for export.
Dr. Flomo added that while it is true that the ministry is firstly directing support to potential farmers, it does not in any way mean that smallholder farmers in the country will be left out.
The Agriculture Minister also disclosed that an MOU has been signed with the Internal Affairs Ministry to begin partnering with communal farmers across the country in 2019 with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
He noted that the mechanized farming process will take into consideration global warming by preserving the forests across the country and dealing with low and uplands in places that have no forest across the targeted counties.
In remarks, Assistant Agriculture Minister for Planning and Research, Alvin Wisseh, who is accompanying Minister Flomo on the tour, disclosed that as per their plan agriculture remains the priority of President Weah in the next five years.
Wisseh stated that the current county tour is aimed at giving the agriculture sector more priority as planned by President Weah, noting that “everywhere we have gone farmers are in high gear to work with the ministry to improve the sector.”