President Samuel Kanyon Doe–Liberia’s 20th Head of State has been the first to introduce the “Green Revolution” to draw Liberians attention to cultivation of rice. It was introduced to swift Liberians reliance on foreign nations for their staple food and it also meant to prevent the reoccurrence of the famous “Rice Riot” which happened a year ago before he took the chair where hundreds of Liberians were massacred by security forces while staging street protest against increase in price rise from US$20 to US$39 for 100 Kg bag.
The Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) of United Nations has advised and Challenged Liberians to produce their staple foods, but however Liberians have never been keen in being farmers which has forced the government and private business people to import foods for citizens. This disinterest has been termed as beggar’s syndrome or reliance virus. It has been reported that some rural Liberian are coming to urban centers to buy pepper, okra, tomato and various other farm produce that should be grown. Currently the farm produce is coming from three Liberia’s sister nations- Ivory Coast, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Since 1847 when the country became a sovereign state, it is known for begging other nations’ governments for rice. The post-war era is worse with world-class Liberian Economist and Agriculturalists in government unable to make nation as a self-reliant state. Instead, they are taking begging bowl around to the Taiwanese or Japanese government to drop free grains of rice into the bowl.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the MOWA’s Agriculture Association, or MAA, Inc., Mr. Antony Yarkpawolo has a farm at Zinc Camp neighborhood in Lakpazee Community in Sinor-Airfield of the Nation’s Capital, Monrovia commented that “The community people offered me this place to do my farming works and I got the place in 2009 and started farming the same year but Nobody is worrying me over landownership matters here.”They charge based on the size of the portion”, Mr. Yarkpawolo added, but couldn’t state the amount charged per plot or portion. On harvesting, he said each worker is provided with some quantity of the processed rice with two hundred Liberian dollars.
Mr. Yarkpawolo has also highlighted various challenges even after the visits of officials of the Ministry of Agriculture where they only come and take photos of the farm and promise to assist with tools but till date there has been no help given in this respect. In 2009, the ministry invited him and other farmers for a five day workshop, where the MoA provided him with US$50 for the workshop excluding cutlasses, shovels and holes as promised.
But he still is hopeful that the government and its partners will soon recognize his efforts of making Liberia self-sufficient and providing employment for dozens of citizens. But a genuine commitment will only convert this dream into reality.