Liberia, 16 June 2015 – Hon. Peter Solo, Grand Gedeh County Superintendent, has commended FAO for its enduring partnership in agriculture. Speaking in Zwedru in May when FAO Representative in Liberia Mr. Marc Abdala – on a three-day field mission – visited him at his office, the local government official also asked the FAO Representative to help address some of the food security and agriculture-related challenges of the County.
“I must commend you for coming to see the challenges in the field. One of the most difficult tasks in Grand Gedeh is in the revitalization of the agriculture sector of the County.” Superintendent Solo expressed the optimism that with FAO and Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration, “we think that this will go a long way in supporting farmers grow the food they eat and alleviate poverty. We assure you of our full cooperation in the implementation of FAO interventions to support farmers in my county.”
FAO’s Representative, Mr Marc Abdala, expressed gratitude to the Government of Liberia especially local officials at field levels who network and collaborate with FAO on a daily basis for the team work and cordial working relationship.
Everywhere he went during the field mission, he urged government officials and other stakeholders in the counties to prevail on farmers and farmer groups to take ownership of FAO-supported activities as this is the best way forward, when FAO exits after projects time spans. He also asked for increased coordination to avoid overlapping and inconsistent situations with perverse consequences in which some humanitarian actors provide farmers cash in the same areas where other organizations are working with farmers under a different approach. “We should assume that projects are for the farmers and that they should be helped to work in a manner that is sustainable and build their resilience. If providing money is found to be the best approach we need to make sure this is used wisely and at the same time what happens when money can’t be distributed anymore.”
He said FAO was working with partners “to discuss more with communities and farmers to find out how we can better improve the work and help them effectively own the projects.”
FAO scaled up its intervention in Grand Gedeh during the emergency period immediately following the end of civil war in 2003 with the EU-funded European Union Food Facility Project. Six other projects including the Emergency for host and Ivorian refugees funded by the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme, rice and vegetable production funded by the CERF, rice production funded by OFDA, Cross Border Programme for livelihoods diversification funded by ECHO, GEF funded Project for mitigating effects of climate change on farmers and now the Human Security Trust Fund for vegetable and rice production funded by the United Nations.