July 23, 2012
DAI Launches FED Project With Initiative to Triple Rice Production in Doumpa, Liberia
DAI has begun its first major initiative under the Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program, part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future Initiative.
The project’s overarching goal is to assist local farmers in increasing their production and profitability.
Through an agreement with the Organization for the Development of Agriculture and Farmer’s Related Association, a local nongovernmental organization, FED has begun to provide technical assistance to help develop lowland rice and vegetable production in the township of Doumpa, in eastern Liberia. The region features excellent soil and a diverse terrain of swamps, woods, forests, and river banks.
Over the past four months, farmers in Doumpa have cultivated 2.23 hectares of lowland for rice production. Transplanting and “puddling”—or tilling the rice plots prior to cultivation—began on 49 of 56 plots in June, and special mobilization efforts are under way to speed up progress, with the goal of tripling production by next season’s fall harvest.
The lowland development is now completed, the land de-stumped, trees cut, peripherals dug, head dyke constructed, and all 56 plots transplanted. Additionally, a one-hectare upland at the margin of the swamp has been planted with cabbage, hot pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, bitter ball, and cucumber.
Currently, the Doumpa project is working with 342 local farmers, of whom 49 percent are women. They are learning new skills from the FED technical team, which they will later transfer to their own farm plots. FED team members conducted training on the use of power tiller to plow both lowland and upland. And over the next several months, FED will provide basic computer training so farmers can begin creating finance records, an inventory, and sales reports.