By Mark N. Mengonfia firstname.lastname@example.org
AfricaRice and her partners have launched what they called” Integrated rice and fish for farming” in central Liberia, Bong.
Although, the project implementation started since 2020, but was officially launched Friday May 21, 2021 in Suakoko at CARI Premises.
Speaking at the launching of the integrated rice and fish farming, AfricaRice Country Rep. Dr. Inoussa Akintayo said the DeSIRA is an integrated rice-fish farming system, a research and extension development based initiative to improve food and nutrition in Liberia.
According to Dr. Akintayo said the project among other things seeks to empower smallholder farmers, improve agricultural research and reduce hunger and Aquaculture or fish farming which will greatly help in food production among Liberians.
He furthered that the project will be implemented in five counties including: Maryland, Gbarpolu, Margibi, Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties.
According to Dr. Akintayo, they have procured machines that will ensure that the project in those various counties go as planned.
Some of the equipment they have obtained include: Power Tiller (Long hand),Rice harvester, Pellet dryer, small scale rice milk and Floating pellet machine, rice paddy drier, Hammer mill.
Also for the fish farming, they have produced locally made feeds.
Some of the feeds include: Cassava flower, fish meal, Rice bran, wheat bran, kernel cake, Coconut cake, grow-out- feed and brewer’s spent grain among others.
Also speaking at the launching event, Mr. Theo Kaspers, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union said the project is an EU fully funded one with the total of 4.275 million USD.
Mr. Kaspers said the three years project is a multi-country program that focuses on development of smart innovation through research in Agriculture.
“The integrated rice-fish farming system project is indeed somewhat atypical in the sense that this development intervention combines research and extension, to improve food security and nutrition in Liberia” the EU representative said.
He committed the EU to supporting the agriculture sector which is said to the one of the places to focus on in terms of maintaining the country.
“Providing safe and nutritious food to all in Liberia is unfortunately still a challenge; in addition, most of Liberia’s food is imported including the main staples, rice and cassava” he said.
Additionally, he indicated that in response to the challenges of food insecurity in Liberia, the integrated system that is piloted produces food that respond to the three human needs which are energy, growth and protection.
For his part, Senator Jim Tonula, a member of the Agriculture committee at the Liberian Senate pleaded the Senate’s support to the integrated rice-fish farming.
Senator Tonula who said through agriculture he and his siblings were educated with proceeds from agriculture produces.
“My mother did agriculture” the Liberian Senator said.
He promised to make a full report to the plenary of the Liberian Senate launching of the rice-fish farming which is praised.
After the official launching, invited guest including Senator Tonula, Agriculture Minster Cooper, EU rep. and those form the counties expected to have the three years program implemented took a field trip which saw the harvesting of fish which grownup in the same rice farm