Training for farmers
CARD and ACDI/VOCA have selected 50 farmers in Montserrado county to receive business/marketing skills training with the aim of improving the income of the farmers and creating the link to the markets.
The most important markets for the farmers have mainly been the communities and local markets. The income that can be generated in such a way is limited.
With improved business management and marketing skills, the farmers will be able to sell their produce to larger buyers like supermarkets. This will improve their income and livelihood. Also, this will assist the process of reduction of malnutrition by providing much needed nutritional balance in the diets of their communities.
The main objectives are
After the workshops are completed Community Development Advisors will be working hand in hand with the farmers on a regular basis. The CDAs will be supporting the farmers and assist them in developing a market strategy as well as linking them to buyers. Marketing Development Assistants will be linking the farmers to the market insuring fair price for their produce.
Progress up to July
The project is now on-going and considerable progress has been made in communities in Mount Barclay, Fendall and Careysburg.
Two days of market survey was conducted and 6 entities have been identified so far. They include restaurants and hotels.
Prior to the project assistance farmers were lacking important skills that could increase the yield of their crops. Now that they have acquired new useful skills and adopt them, it is expected that production will increase.
In the past the farmers did not have direct contact with the market. Today, the crops being harvested are sold directly to restaurants and hotels with good profit.
Other noteworthy results:
Progress after July
In July, August and September another 50 farmers joined the program so a total of 100 farmers will have been trained at the end of the project. Of the first batch of 50 farmers, 85% are now involved in high value vegetable farming. The remaining 15% of the first batch of has not started growing high value vegetable crops, however they are growing local vegetables.
The use of the Farm Record Keeping System has increased to 65% of the farmers. Hopefully this number will rise towards the end of the project and beyond.
The connection of the farmers with the local markets has been strengthening over the past period. A few more restaurants and hotels have joined the clientèle which are now totaled 9: 7 hotels and 2 restaurants.
Several field visits were held by ACDI/VOCA and CARD staff were held to assess the results achieved and in September monitoring and evaluation activities were carried out.
Now, at the end of September, the project is complete and awaiting final evaluation.