GBARNGA, Bong – A female Liberian agriculturist, Zobo Luther, has underscored the need for increased citizens’ involvement in agriculture, if Liberia is to become self-sustainable in food production.
With a master’s degree in Agronomy Plant Breeding from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Luther is already walking the walk, as she has cultivated 15 acres out of 75 acres of farmland she purchased back home while studying abroad.
Her farm located in Weamue, in the suburbs of Gbarnga, contains rice, cassava, plantains, beans, eddoes, coconut, and other crops.
Luther said most countries in the world trace their growth and development to agriculture; nothing that if Liberia is to succeed in its development drive, Liberians must prioritize agriculture.
“Agriculture is the bedrock to any nation’s development. So I am advising all of us; if you are a minister, accountant, politician, or whosoever, let us try and go into agriculture,” Luther told reporter on her farm recently.
Access to market remains a challenge for most smallholder farmers in Liberia; bad road network, lack of storage facilities, and lack of links between farmers and buyers are among factors hampering farmers.
For Luther, access to market is not much of an issue; she has already started building links with buyers: “Selling the produce to get my money is not a hard thing; I already started negotiating with some buyers like supermarkets so that in the end, my produce can be sold so that I can get something.”
She said her dream for the coming years is to cultivate her entire farmland to produce more food for sale and provide additional jobs for citizens.
In a related development, a veteran Liberian media practitioner, Jefferson Massah, is urging journalists in Liberia, especially those in community radios to invest more attention to covering the agriculture sector.
Massah believes the media is not doing much reporting on issues related to agriculture to help local farmers with relevant information to increase their productivity and link them to the markets.
“This initiative will help enhance the farming knowledge of smallholder farmers through farmer education on their various community radio stations,” Massah said.
As fellow of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists, Massah, at the organization’s recently held 2018 Master Class for Emerging Leaders in Agricultural Communications in Netherlands, secured a membership for Liberia with the organization.
The International Federation of Agriculture Journalists Master Class program offers agricultural journalists from around the world a “top-notch” professional development curriculum.
“This is a big opportunity for Liberian journalists interested in agriculture journalism to expand their professional networking,” Massah said.
He is of the conviction that smallholder farmers can rely on community radio stations for agriculture extension information, access to market and a lot other important information to improve their farming initiatives.
Featured photo by Moses Bailey