The Agriculture Coordinators for Gbarpolu County outlines challenges facing the sector, particularly farmers, arranging from lack of vehicles, motorbikes and farming implements.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper at her residence in Gardnersville along the Somalia Drive, Madam Weedor Akoi Cegbe explains that her office in Gbarpolu County has communicated with the Ministry of Agriculture in Monrovia to address what she describes as long-term challenges that have engulfed the agriculture office of the county.
“We have been making our report and communicating to them but they are still saying things will be fine and we are still hoping to see the improvement. Actually, it is causing embarrassment for us because when farmers come to us or when we visit the field to give them some import, but we don’t have it, so we only encourage them and try to make them do what they are supposed to do,” Madam Cegbe laments.
She notes that prior to the inception of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government, many NGOs were in the county, helping the agriculture sector, but due to the Coronavius pandemic and other reasons, those institutions ceased operations.
She says farmers usually work in groups but since the State of Emergency and restriction on public gathering, many farmers were asked to reduce their numbers.
“The farming is going slow in the county because some farms have up to 25 to 30 members (men and women) but we went around, encouraging them to reduce the number. There are two major products being produced in the county, which include rice and cassava,” Madam Cegbe discloses.
She points that for local products to reach to market is another challenge farmers are faced with after harvest, lamenting that bad roads and citizens preference for imported food over locallyproduced commodities are among challenges facing the agricultural sector of Gbarpolu.
Meanwhile, the County Agriculture Coordinator appeals to government through the Ministry of Agriculture and international NGOs to help provide rice and cassava mills for farmers,noting that pounding of seed rice after production is another major challenge they facein the county.