By Emmanuel Mafelah | GNN Central Liberia Correspondent|
The World Food Program WFP in collaboration with the government of Liberia and Samaritan Purse has begun three days Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture training with 60plus participants including line ministries (Agriculture, Health, Internal affair and the Media) in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The Smallholder Agriculture Development (Project SHAD-P) is a Japanese Government food aid initiative through the World food Programme that aims at supporting smallholder farmers in Liberia.
The smallholder Agriculture Development Projects (SHAD-P) nutrition sensitive workshops commence on Monday 12, 2018 and will end Wednesday 14, 2018.
The three day training will strengthen the capability of farmers-particularly rural women to and enhance their knowledge and skills in the production of high nutrient dense crops, improve understanding of food diversification and develop clear messages to support community nutritional practices.
The purpose of the training is to also strengthen smallholder farmer’s knowledge on sustainable food systems and its contribution to optimal nutrition.
Speaking at the opening of the training, World Food Program Nutrition Programme Officer Mr. Samuel Kopi said nutrition in the early stages of life is essential to being well nourished, healthy and productive throughout one’s lifetime.
According to him, WFP is therefore working with local farmers, processors and markets in several counties to source quality ingredients for complementary feeding programmers’, starting at six months of age. When paired with continued breastfeeding, these complementary foods provide essential nutrients for growing children’s dietary needs and for their optimal physical and mental development.
Mr. Kopi stated Prevention is keys-besides the obvious health benefits of stopping malnutrition before it starts; preventative programmers’ are more cost-effective than those that concentrate solely on treatment.
Mr. Kopi further said, instead of focusing exclusively on cash crops to be sold on the market, rural farmers can use their land to cultivate a variety of commodities, including fruits, vegetables and small livestock like chicken. This can improve household food security, nutrition and the economic status of the family and the community. For many households, agriculture is also a key source of income which can be used to purchase a wider assortment of foods as well as access health care and clean water.
He stated that WFP will always stand by smaller producers to grow not only the food their families need but to also sell the surplus and earn an income to meet other dietary and family needs.
“WFP is here to facilitate, to work with the government and partners to help farmers produce food they consume and be the best among the best”
Also speaking, Bong County Nutrition focus person at the ministry of Health J. Adadius Dayi encouraged participants to make a maximum use of the training by consuming or eating fruits and vegetables stating as doing so, it will helps them grow stronger and healthy while they will also be in line with WFP’s objectives to make Liberia and Liberian’s save from Malnutrition.
“The Ministry of Health will continue to support farmers in creating awareness in various communities across the County teaching them some causes and preventive measures of malnutrition”, he adds.
For their part, some Participants of the workshop extended commendations to WFP and partners for the appropriate training stating that knowledge is power.
The Participants whom were drawn from across Bong County promised to implement what they will learn in order to serve an ambassador in their various home as part of effort to growing and eating local foods and vegetables.