Friday, August 27, 2010

UN Helps Rehabilitate Swamplands for Food Production

The United Nations agriculture agency and the European Community are supporting Liberia in rehabilitating its fertile lowlands, which cover one fifth of the West African country, to cut the nation's dependence on rice imports and improve the livelihood of vulnerable farming families.

Considering that lowland farms have the potential to yield up to 80 to 90 per cent more rice than upland ones, the Liberian Government has prioritized the rehabilitation of swamps, especially those with damaged or abandoned rice fields.

"In the swamps, you can grow two, three crops of rice per year, compared to just one per year on upland slopes," said Sheku Kamara, an agricultural engineer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

By contrast, "with upland rice you have to move to another area after each harvest, then you slash and burn to clear brush and trees, then you move to another area and you repeat that."

Mr. Kamara has provided technical support for a 2,000-hectare swamp and irrigation rehabilitation project funded by the European Union.

FAO has distributed rice seeds, fertilizers and pest management supplies to 10,000 vulnerable rural households under the initiative. It is also supporting school garden projects and vegetable growers with materials, training and technical assistance.

The agency's technical support to the Government includes training to improve the quality of extension services, strengthen the capacity of employees to conduct crop surveys, and revive the national system for producing, testing and storing seeds.

While rice production in Liberia has increased significantly since the end of its 14-year civil war in 2003, the percentage of rice that is imported remains high. According to Government figures, Liberia continues to imports 60 per cent of the rice it consumes.

Up to 5,000 men and women in Bong, Nimba and Lofa counties, many of whom fled rural farms during the civil war, are participating in the new initiative. They are reviving defunct lowland farms, repairing irrigation systems, and receiving training in sustainable farming techniques.

"During the war, we went away," said Bendu Bendeh, a resident of Samay in Bong County. "After that, we had no money, no way to work."

Today, Ms. Bendeh stands on swampland that she and her neighbours have rehabilitated.

"Now we know how to set up the bunds," she said, referring to the dirt embankments that criss-cross the fields and serve as a form of irrigation control, work platforms and footpaths. Ms. Bendeh also received seeds, tools, fertilizer and pest management supplies.

"We were taught how to take rice from a nursery and transplant the seedlings for a better crop," she added.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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