From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Liberian church launches efforts to boost agriculture

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Mon, 9 Dec 2002 14:09:38 -0600

Dec. 9, 2002 News media contact: Linda Bloom7(212)870-38037New York

A UMNS Report
By Edwin J. Clarke Jr.*

In the wake of the Liberian government's call for self-sufficiency in food
production, the United Methodist Church there has launched three agricultural
projects in Nimba, Bassa and Montserrado

The yearlong projects include poultry development, agro-forestry and
livestock restocking, and local vegetable- and rice-seed multiplication and
preservation. They are jointly financed by the church's Liberia Annual
Conference and United Methodist Board of Global Ministries at a cost of
$60,000. The projects will benefit 30 villages and almost 2,000 farmers,
according to Edward Kla Brewer, director of the conference's agriculture

The Poultry Development Project, based in Nimba County and involving about
400 people, will introduce crossbred chickens into the Liberia Poultry
Market. "These crossbred chickens will be as nutritional as the American
fowls and can survive better in tropical regions," Brewer said. 

Studies by his department have revealed a shortage of local vegetables and
rice seeds in the country as a result of Liberia's recent war. To remedy that
shortage, the Grand Bassa County-based Local Vegetable and Rice Seed
Multiplication and Preservation Project will teach farmers and others how to
multiply and preserve seeds. Ten people will serve as trainers for the
farmers, Brewer said.

"Right now, rice, pepper, and other vegetable seeds are very hard to find in
the Bassa area," he explained. Livestock also has decreased, especially in
the Montserrado area. Before the war, rabbits, ducks, goats, and other
animals were common in the surrounding communities. 

Brewer noted that commercial activities, such as charcoal and firewood
production, have led farmers to destroy other tree species, which will cause
ecological problems in the future.
The Agro Forestry/Livestock Restocking Project will engage more than 700
farmers in planting fruit trees. Some 10,000 trees will be planted in the
Montserrado County-based project. The church is also planning
livestock-raising activities. 
# # #
*Clarke is director of the Liberia Annual Conference Department of

United Methodist News Service
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