During the period April 1- 15 FED activities ranged from finalizing memorandum of understanding’s with a further seven lead goat farmers, interactive forums with hundreds of farmers in Lofa and trainings for key staff.
As demonstrated in the cover photograph the goat shelter construction process is progressing with further structures scheduled to be erected the remaining two weeks in April. MOU’s have now been signed with lead farmers in Grand Bassa, targets for agreements with 20 farmers have been exceeded with two extra MOUs being agreed in addition to the five that were forecast for Grand Bassa.
Interactive forums were conducted in Lofa County between April 3-6th which involved 437 number of farmers from 6 districts, Foya, Kolahun, Voinjama, Quanda Gboni, Zor Zor and Salayea. These forum’s served as community outreach events addressing the questions of current and prospective farmers, partners, NGOs. FED’s extension officers from Lofa addressed the audiences on various issues pertaining to their county, these included; what FED stands for, who USAID are, provision of technical agriculture best practice tips for not only farming but farming as a business. Live interactive talk shows were also conducted at three community radio stations in Lofa to tie in with the event and serve as further means of educating farmers how USAID’s FED progam can help them and how the FtF initiative is different from NGO based support. Jingles were also distributed to local community radio stations to reinforce messages provided in the forums. All jingles include women’s voices and there was a strong emphasis placed on getting female representation at the forum.
The Enterprise Development Team have been making arrangements for the forthcoming MoCI conference where FED will be hosting a breakout session. The ED team have also been involved in organizational strengthening training.
Studies were undertaken by Dr. Edward Rhodes who was working with component three in soil testing, Jim Correll investigated plant diseases that are a threat in Liberia and Dr. Eric Wailes has been updating rice policy issues and data analysis concerning upland vs. lowland rice commercialization feasibility.
Trainings took place in best practice pesticide use for the PUA team, rice value chain have been rolling out fabrication and demonstration of parboiling drum, tanks in addition to the construction and demonstration of the benefits of concrete drying floors, this has initially been rolled out to six farming groups in Lofa, Nimba, and Bong counties.
FED welcomed Component One lead David Benafel who joined the team on April 15th.