The Ministry of Agriculture has started importing varieties of environmentally-friendly fertilizers for farmers across the country amidst eight months of scarcity or unavailability due to the COVID-19 sparked off closure of neighboring countries’ borders.
As vegetable farming season begins in conformity with Liberia’s crops planting calendar, the newly arrived fertilizers are suitable for all types of vegetables planting, MOA’s agronomists joyfully say.
Thus far, three thousand bags have landed in MOA’s custody and the remaining is in shipment -expected to dock by month end.
Agriculture Minister, Jeanine Milly Cooper, has instructed the relevant departments at the MOA to immediately distribute to farmers through County Agriculture Officers.
“No time to waste for any bureaucratic bottleneck for the free distribution as farmers need them right now to plant more and implement the vision of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah for direct support to farmers”, Minister Cooper directed.
The MOA procured those vital agro inputs through the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC), a fund under its supervised duo donor-funded Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) within the Program Management Unit.
Moreover, the procurement of those fertilizers is a key component in the MOA’s COVID-19 Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihood Plan developed in April this year.
The plan was immediately endorsed by the Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the World Bank to mitigate the COVID-19 impacts and shocks on the farming community and food security.
Since April, Liberian farmers have been struggling to acquire fertilizers in many parts of the country after Liberia’s three sisterly republics shut their borders to contain the COVID-19 virus spread.
The Republics of La Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea were the main destinations from where 80% of fertilizers’ imports came prior to the borders’ blackout.
Fertilizers are totally out of stocks in Liberia’s central, northern and western regions. The southeastern aegis has limited supplies -if seen -but with high prices making them unaffordable for farmers.