300 farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs benefit from poultry farming project in Lofa County

Lofa County. Liberia. 2 October 2012 – Three hundred beneficiaries of a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) funded project in Lofa County have begun harvesting cow peas as part of an effort to increase locally produced poultry feed. Close to five acres of land in Konia, Vezeala and Foya districts of Lofa County were planted with cow peas, cassava and corn, for use as poultry feed.

Under this project, 300 farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs, ninety two percent (92%) of whom are women, engage in poultry production as a means of sustainable livelihood opportunities as well as improving nutrition for families in the three districts. The effort to increase locally grown poultry feed addresses the major constraint faced by farmers in accessing adequate supplies to ensure sustainable poultry farming.

The 18-month, US$ 477,000 project, ‘Poultry Production Support to Farmer Households in Lofa County’, is a Technical Cooperation Project funded by FAO and is carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture.

The crops are being produced before the stocking of chicks, and once the birds are procured the feeds will be processed and fed to the chickens.

“This is entirely sustainable and will make the project viable because farmers are not going to depend on importing feed for the chickens,” the project’s national coordinator, Preston Anderson, said.

Meanwhile, Assistant FAO Representative for Programmes, Mr Joseph Boiwu, has encouraged the poultry farmers  in Konia, Velezeala, and Foya to be the main catalysts for reducing the dependency on imported  poultry products.

“FAO is here to work with the Government to help the people of Liberia develop their agriculture. You can farm the chickens here in Liberia for your family consumption, which will save the money you are using to import them, and you will also sell some to generate additional income for your families”.

“The government of Liberia is happy with the work of FAO in Lofa and this project is supporting the efforts of Government to cater to the people. After this harvest, you will continue planting the sites with cassava, peanuts, and other crops because this project will empower you not only for food but also for family support and sustenance,” said Mr John B. Dovee Sr., Lofa County Agriculture Coordinator (CAC).

Madam Yama Fumba is Chair of Zevelekeze (“join hands together”) Farmers Organization that owns the Konia site. She was clear about the benefits of the project thus far. “This project has taught us how to grow corn, cow peas, and other crops, provided  materials and tools for the planting, and  has also brought us closer together. We see it as a big boost for our community.”

FAO is also constructing three buildings in all three districts, each structure comprising eight compartments including three rooms for chicken breeding, one processing chamber, two storage areas, one salesroom, and an office space.

The project, which began in early 2012, is in response  to a request from the Government of Liberia seeking FAO’s assistance in assisting rural communities, especially women beneficiaries, improve livelihoods and income generation through poultry production. A similar project is currently being implemented in Buchanan, with plans to scale up support for livestock production in Lofa, Bong, and Counties in the  Southeast.

For further information, contact:

John Monibah, Communications  Officer, FAO, Liberia on john.monibah@fao.org