On July 16, 2015 in Suakoko, Bong County, USAID FED and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) distributed 30 power tillers worth US$189,000 to Liberian youth entrepreneurs under a cost share arrangement. Youth entrepreneurs in Lofa received 9 power tillers, while those in Nimba and Bong County each received 10 power tillers, and a youth entrepreneur in Grand Bassa received power tiller. A power tiller is used for plowing the soil before planting. The use of power tillers reduces the cost of producing rice, and allows farmers to cultivate a bigger area during the main cropping season. The youth beneficiaries will provide the power tiller service for a fee to ensure sustainability. USAID FED will provide training on business management and also help these youth enterprises access loans for the expansion of their power tiller businesses.
On July 15, USAID FED presented the benefits of Urea Deep Placement (UDP) versus urea broadcast and zero fertilization to the Agriculture Coordination Committee (ACC). The comparative cost-to-benefit analysis was based on yield data collected from USAID FED supported FY14 trial sites, and considered the cost of inputs, labor and tools required for land preparation, planting, and maintenance and harvesting. The result from the trials showed that the use of UDP in lowland rice is 347% more profitable than the broadcast method of fertilization, and 780% more profitable compared to zero fertilization.
From July 9-10, a workshop was held at the MoA to validate the implementing regulation for Liberia of the ECOWAS Seed Regulation that was gazetted in September 2014. These implementing guidelines were drafted by the USAID FED-supported Seed Policy Expert, Mr. Josiah Wobil. Key stakeholders such as USAID FED, USAID, MoA, CARI, the West Africa Seed Program (WASP), the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) and Africa Rice all participated in the workshop.
During the reporting period, Component 3 organized a workshop with Booker Washington Institute (BWI), Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC), Lofa County Community College (LCCC), and Nimba County Community College (NCCC) to develop the year two syllabi and lesson plans of the National Diploma in Agriculture (NDA). This workshop was held at the Nimba County Community College campus library from July 12-24. A total of 29 participants were drawn from the four CoE’s, University of Liberia, Cuttington University, Ministry of Education (MoE), MoA as well as USAID FED. As a result of this workshop, 16 lesson plans and syllabi have been developed.