The Community of Hope and Agriculture Project (CHAP) has launched the Rice Investment Scheme for Empowerment (RISE) targeting 5000 farmers in eight of the 15 counties of Liberia.
The RISE project is about business and targets farmers who are willing to invest in their farms. Machines will be distributed to communities to pay for and brush their farms. The project is “For any Investment to be sustainable it must be initiated by the people”
The objective of the project is to build sustainable climate smart agriculture farming practices, to introduce user’s friendly rental services, increase farmers income.
This, according to CHAP will reduce the importation of rice and increase the consumption of locally grown rice and ensure there is supply and there is no raw material and support what others have done for farmers.
Giving an overview of the project during the launching ceremony in Gompa City, Nimba County over the weekend, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CHAP, Robert S. M Bimba encouraged farmers to invest their own money if they must succeed.
Bimba said CHAP will provide 10kilograms of seed rice to those farmers who meet the requirements for one hectare and they must be willing to use an improved method and innovation.
“We will provide farmers advisory service (FAS) to provide service to their own fellow farmers. We will be building the capacity of the smallholder farmers and members of the work value chain. We will be purchasing rice from you for an agreed price, we will be providing small machines rental service, we will register our farmers and ID cards our farmers because we want to identify you if we are working with you,” Bimba said.
The CHAP boss also said the role of the farmers is to register and make farming as a business, make available at least five to ten hectares and they must be willing to invest a minimum of US$1.00, and must be willing to pay for the machine service because it’s not free.
Bimba said during this maiden part of the project, they will be working with 5000 farmers who are willing and committed to work and take farming to another level. The farmers are selected from Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado, Bomi, Margibi, Bong, and Grand Cape Mount Counties and they are called investment counties.
According to him, these counties are called investment counties because they are using rice as an investment.
Bimba further said the total land for the maiden part of the project is 1000 hectares of lowland under production with the anticipation of harvesting 40 tons of clean rice in a season; saying “we are distributing seed rice in all of the counties to farmers.”
According to him, the farmers must be willing to grow rice using other improved methods. He added “in Nimba, we are putting in for 366 hectares, 3660 kilograms of seed rice, Lofa 449 hectares, 4490kg of seed rice, 20 hectares in Bong, 18 hectares Margibi, among others. the total of 10,000 kilograms of improved seed rice to all counties.”
Also speaking at the launching ceremony, the Senior Economist at the World Bank, Jeanette Sutherland said “I appreciate the initiative by CHAP relating to the Rice Investment Scheme for Empowerment (RISE) and even support the minimum voluntary US$1.00 contribution towards the ‘I Love Liberian Rice campaign’ and look forward to more dialogues as it is a good citizen initiative for sustainability that comes with ownership.”
A Deputy Minister of Agriculture who spoke at the occasion thanked CHAP and pledged the ministry’s support to CHAP and said it was the first time farmers received seed rice on time as CHAP started her 10kg per hectare seed rice distribution to smallholder rice farmers using System of Rice Intensification (SRI).
For his part, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., pledged the Liberian Government unflinching support to the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) in an effort to foster the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda.
It’s no doubt agriculture is a key pillar in booming and sustaining the economy of the state; as a result, the Minister assured that he will tirelessly work to see this becomes a reality.