Training for farmers in Montserrado

Nursery at Mount BarclayCARD and ACDI/VOCA have selected 50 farmers in Montserrado county to receive business/marketing skills training with the aim of improving the income of the farmers and creating the link to the markets.

The most important markets for the farmers have mainly been the communities and local markets. The income that can be generated in such a way is limited.

 With improved business management and marketing skills, the farmers will be able to sell their produce to larger buyers like supermarkets. This will improve their income and livelihood.  Also, this will assist the process of reduction of malnutrition by providing much needed nutritional balance in the diets of their communities.

The main objectives are

  • to create an open environment where learning, sharing of knowledge and cooperation between farmers is encouraged
  • to open new avenues for the sales of the farmers produce and to teach the farmers how to do this themselves
  • to continually evaluate applications of new skills and techniques learned

After the workshops are completed Community Development Advisors will be working hand in hand with the farmers on a regular basis. The CDAs will be supporting the farmers and assist them in developing a market strategy as well as linking them to buyers. Marketing Development Assistants will be linking the farmers to the market insuring fair price for their produce.

Progress up to July

Field in CareysburgThe project is now on-going and considerable progress has been made in communities in Mount Barclay, Fendall and Careysburg.

Two days of market survey was conducted and 6 entities have been identified so far. They include restaurants and hotels.

Other noteworthy results:

  • Many of the high value vegetable farmers whose crops are ready for harvest have been linked to markets and buyers in Monrovia. They are now benefiting from a higher rate and selling directly to their customers
  • Exchange visits by the lead farmers have taken place. The lead farmers have been found to be always willing to answer questions and help the less experienced farmers
  • The farmers are now preparing nurseries, compost heaps, preserving urine and ashes in large quantities. Nearly all of them have decided to use these local materials/fertilizers as they are effective and cheap
  • All of the farmers have a similar vision: To see their children educated and their families living a life free of poverty

Prior to the project assistance farmers were lacking  important skills that could increase the yield of their crops. Now that they have acquired new useful skills and adopt them, it is expected that production will increase.
In the past the farmers did not have direct contact with the market. Today, the crops being harvested are sold directly to restaurants and hotels with good profit.

Progress after June

Nursery in CarysburgIn July, August and September another 50 farmers joined the program so a total of 100 farmers will have been trained at the end of the project. Of the first batch of 50 farmers, 85% are now involved in high value vegetable farming. The remaining 15% of the first batch of has not started growing high value vegetable crops, however they are growing local vegetables.
The use of the Farm Record Keeping System has increased to 65% of the farmers. Hopefully this number will rise towards the end of the project and beyond.

The connection of the farmers with the local markets has been strengthening over the past period. A few more restaurants and hotels have joined the clientèle which are now totaled 9: 7 hotels and 2 restaurants.

Application of ashes as fertilizer, FendellSeveral field visits were held by ACDI/VOCA and CARD staff were held to assess the results achieved and in September monitoring and evaluation activities were carried out.

  • Irrigation technology was introduced to the farmers. It is expected to be implemented at the next dry season
  • The exchange visits by the lead farmers continue and keep bringing good results
  • The preparation of nurseries (pepper, cabbage, lettuce, tomato, collard green, and eggplant) in Mount Barclay, Fendall and Careysburg/VOA is continuing and in part complete
  • Farmers are being encouraged to apply crop rotation and proper farm maintenance methods

Now, at the end of September, the project is complete and awaiting final evaluation.

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