Funded by the Government of Japan, the smallholder agriculture development project is a joint assets creation and food production effort of WFP, Government of Liberia and Samaritan’s Purse Liberia.
In the early afternoon of Wednesday, 12 September, a team of WFP and Samaritan’s Purse co-workers was greeted to a friendly welcome by grinning farmers of the Gbuyah Swamp Project on the outskirts of Suakoko, Bong County.
It’s food distribution day or as one farmer put it “rice payday” for members who have achieved the required work output for one month in developing community assets (lowlands) under the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SHAD-P) in Bong County. Many of the nearly 90-strong farmer organization members were there in strength.
He stepped forward, and urging the crowd of farmers to maintain consistency, hard work, and team spirit devoid of greed, infighting, and cheating, Bong County Agriculture Coordinator, Kollie R. Nahn, said: “This time around we, especially you the farmers, have to work to succeed because help will not always come. Now that this help has come, we must do all we can to grow the food we eat”.
“What we need to work hard are motivation and encouragement and we see it right here in front of us with this rice, oil, and beans. I pledge to you today that we will not fail you our supporters”, stated Saydee J.M. Lincoln, the group’s manager, also a farmer.
Lonnie Herring, WFP’s Head of LAMP, lauding the Government and people of Japan for financing the project, re-emphasized the Organization’s commitment to helping Liberia arrive safely at the 2030 zero hunger target by assisting and supporting smallholder producers within the framework of the Government’s development agenda. “The assets we help you create, the food you produce, the income you generate are all yours. None for WFP, Samaritan’s Purse or the Ministry of Agriculture, it’s all yours”, he assured them.
Food distribution also occurred the same day in Meleke community, near Gbarnga. Next day, Thursday, 13 September, distributions were held elsewhere including Dahn and Blameyea communities.
Lowland sites visited Thursday by WFP and Samaritan’s Purse included Gbarnga’s millionaire quarter, Dahn, Suakoko, Gbondoi, and SKT communities where rehabilitation of old lowland assets and creation of new ones were rapidly progressing.
Implemented through Samaritan’s Purse Liberia, a development and humanitarian NGO, the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SHAD-P) is funded by the Government of Japan to enhance agriculture and capacity building of smallholder producers while aiming to support the Government’s strategies of fighting poverty and food insecurity through staple food production.
Overall ownership and supervision of this six-month project are with the Government of Liberia. The effort is also geared towards assisting rural women and youth from approximately 1,200 households to become sustainable farmers and gradually increasing access to improved farming inputs and agro-processing technologies among others.