The Government of Liberia and the United Nations food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Thursday signed an agreement for a project to enhance animal feed production through corn production in the Liberian capital Monrovia.
Corn, also known as maize, is the grain used in poultry diets because it has good energy content and is easy to digest. But, the procurement of corn feeds is mostly done from neighboring Guinea and Cote d’lvoire at a high cost.
The project will be implemented by Government through the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Agriculture and the FAO, according to an Internal Affairs Ministry releae issued in Monrovia on Thursday.
Internal Affairs Minister Varney A. Sirleaf and acting Agriculture Minister Ernest J. Clarke signed for the Liberian Government, while Madam Mariatou Njie, FAO Country Representative signed for the organization.
The release said the project seeks to address and ensure increased and sustainable production of maize to support the production of livestock and poultry feed at an affordable cost.
It is envisaged that when corn production is increased, local feed producers will have reliable and stable supply of corn for feed production.
The release said the project will also increase the profit margin of both feed producers and poultry farmers.
The project document quotes an FAO data of 2013 as saying many local poultry farmers in Liberia have challenges in poultry production due to high production cost derived from feed purchase.
The project valued at US$436,000 is expected to be implemented over a two-year period running from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2021.
As the poultry production will be carried out, a complete market analysis will be conducted as a mechanism to link or connect maize producers to animal feed processor units.
According to the project document, the corn production project is also expected to become a model for the restoration of communal farming in counties and districts.
The Communal Farming Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO to ensure successful implementation of the project.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Internal Affairs Ministry will ensure that the designated parcel of land for cultivation in each locality is owned and given by the communities.
It was agreed that there will be construction of processing facilities with storage and drying slides, milling machines with accessories and fertilizers, as well as training of the beneficiaries.
Through FAO Technical Cooperation Program (TCP), equipment, materials and supplies will be provided to enhance the realization of the project.
Speaking at the signing ceremony Thursday, Internal Affairs Minister Sirleaf commended FAO Country Representative and her team for the bold step, which he described as the beginning of support to the Communal Farming program that he (Minister Sirleaf) has been pushing in the counties.
He assured the success of the project and lauded authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture for the hard work which has resulted to the signing of the agreement.
On January 23, 2019, the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Agriculture signed technical cooperation accord aimed at revitalizing the communal farming system for increased food production and job creation for hunger and poverty alleviation.
The cooperation between MIA and MOA covers agricultural activities involving joint motivation and support for communities and people to engage in profitable communal farming development, commercial agricultural enterprises, design of programs/projects, project implementation, supervision, monitoring and evaluation, appraisal and impact assessments of programs and project reporting.