URGENT PLEA: Government Must Reach Out to the Foya and All Other Farmers

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first_imgWe wonder whether President Sirleaf ever reads the Observer Farmer Column which this newspaper has been producing every Thursday for many years. Dr. Cyril Broderick, professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia’s College of Agriculture and Forestry, was the preeminent Observer Farmer in the late 1980s.  Now we have another highly committed, motivated Observer Farmer, Judoemue Kollie who, though he has not yet even finished college, is faithful, productive and even indefatigable in covering the Farm Sector all over the country.The President, the World Bank people, indeed all Liberians, especially those involved or interested in farming, should read Judoemu’s farm column which, as usual, appeared in the Thursday,—that’s yesterday’s—edition of the Daily Observer.     The Observer Farmer column contained three very important stories.  The first was a story which, though highlighted in Wednesday’s edition, Judoemue felt compelled to mention on his Farm Page yesterday: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s serious and emphatic pledge to help Liberia in the recovery of its agriculture sector.Remember we said in yesterday’s editorial that AGRICULTURE was the FIRST thing President Kim mentioned while outlining his multi-faceted recovery plan for Liberia in the post-Ebola period.  The WBG leader explained why he is targeting this sector first: “Agriculture is a key pillar of the Liberian economy,” he noted.      The second story on yesterday’s Farm Page highlighted a most encouraging and innovative initiative undertaken by 24 women farmers in Clay Ashland, Montserrado County.  These women have organized themselves under an umbrella called the New Generation Women Farmers Group, within which they have started a Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA).  Recently, with the help of some international donors, these women distributed LD286,820 among themselves to expand their farming efforts, especially cassava production.Can the government and other able parties help these women with farm implements to make their work easier?   Can the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) assist them in providing improved cassava varieties and lend technical support, such as deploying some of its staff to advise the women on proper cassava and other crop cultivation?Judoemue’s third story is the most important one: he featured a rice farmer in Foya, Lofa County named Franklin Tengbeh, who has successfully cultivated 14.7 hectares of high yielding rice.  Mr. Tengbeh is now harvesting his rice, some of which he intends to pass on to other area farmers as seeds.But, Judoemue pointed out, Farmer Tengbeh is faced with a number of very serious challenges: lack of storage, transportation, thrashers and drying floor, among others. Herein, we think, lies an excellent opportunity for President Sirleaf’s urgent intervention.  She needs to find an expert and send him or her to Foya to see Mr. Tengbeh and what he is doing, and find out how he can be helped.Foya has long been known for its superior agricultural productivity.  Ever since the legendary Foya Paramount Chief Tamba Taylor, beginning in the 1950s, taught his people to farm, they have been self-sufficient not only in rice and vegetables but also meat.  They grow their own cattle, goats, poultry, pigs and sheep. The Foya farmers are once again giving the Liberian government another opportunity to redeem itself by reaching out to these enterprising people.  This time, the government should be very focused and do ALL it can to help Farmer Tengbeh and others to succeed and, in the process, to feed Liberia.Judoemue mentioned in his World Bank story a very important historical fact, which most people have forgotten.  He started by saying that in the last National Budget, only 2.4% was allocated to Agriculture.  Yet, 10 years ago, African leaders met in Maputo, Mozambique and adopted the Maputo Declaration which called on African governments to allocate at least 10% of their annual budgets to Agriculture.Now we see why Liberia faces a serious threat of food insecurity.  Now we see why our people are poor.  This stems from two main problems: first, we have not invested sufficiently in agriculture; and second, most unfortunately, many of our Agriculture Ministers have failed us. We must find a solution to these two problems and jumpstart our nationwide farm program again—in vegetables, tree crops (coffee, cocoa, rubber, oil palm, cashew nuts, mangoes, etc.), in rice, our staple, in banana and plantain  and in meat (cattle, goats, poultry, pigs and sheep), all of which also grow well in Foya.Let us remember what we said in yesterday’s editorial: the World Bank and many others are prepared to help us, especially in the post-Ebola period.  But none of this help will amount to much if we do not help ourselves.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Giants-Yankees: How baseball’s cruel cycle has them playing on opposite fields

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first_imgThe Giants landed in New York City on a late night of July 2016 in disarray.The team with the best record in baseball (57-33) to that point had just lost its fifth game in a row on an unfamiliar trail of combustion from San Diego to Boston.The Giants would go 2-1 in the Bronx, marking the mere beginnings of a historic collapse in San Francisco that sent them plummeting from an early playoff elimination into bottom-feeding obscurity quicker than a New York minute.The Giants and Yankees faced …last_img read more

49ers camp: Scouting the offensive depth chart

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first_imgLong shot: Wilton SpeightAnalysis: Garoppolo still must prove fully recovered from left-knee reconstruction, and if that isn’t accomplished after three exhibitions, will the 49ers keep three QBs? Mullens should have the edge … SANTA CLARA — Not since 2003 have the 49ers produced a top-10 offense in total yards or points. Here is how this year’s depth chart looks heading into training camp (*projected starter):Quarterbacks (4)Lock: *Jimmy GaroppoloBubble: Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathardlast_img read more

Support for Victims of Crime in St. Ann

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first_img Services include preparing clients for court, and helping them deal with the emotional trauma caused by crime through mediation and counselling. Story Highlights The Ministry of Justice’s St. Ann Victim Services Division (VSD) is playing a key role in providing healing and support for victims of crime in the parish, particularly children.Acting Manager, Bernita Black, told JIS News that the office assists up to 60 persons on a monthly basis.Services include preparing clients for court, and helping them deal with the emotional trauma caused by crime through mediation and counselling.“We also do crisis intervention where we provide on-the-scene response or home visits,” Ms. Black said.“We have a violence-prevention initiative where we sensitise parents and children [about] how they can reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime and where they can access services,” she added.She said that the services are provided by two full-time counsellors and a team of volunteers.Ms. Black told JIS News that victims are referred to the office through the police, courts, Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), school guidance counsellors, or health centres.“Persons also walk into our office,” she noted.She told JIS News that special focus in placed on children who are victims of crime.“We have the Children in Court Programme where we provide emotional support to children who have to attend court. We do court orientation and we provide the support that they would need in order to be comfortable in the justice system,” she informed. Acting Manager, Bernita Black, told JIS News that the office assists up to 60 persons on a monthly basis. The Ministry of Justice’s St. Ann Victim Services Division (VSD) is playing a key role in providing healing and support for victims of crime in the parish, particularly children. last_img read more

Under Delhi metro bridge shopkeeper runs makeshift school for over 300 deprived

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first_imgNew Delhi: Hoping to change the lives of the capital’s have-nots, a shopkeeper in Delhi has been running a makeshift school for more than 300 underprivileged children beneath a metro bridge in the Yamuna Bank area for the last over eight years without any assistance neither from the government nor any NGOs. ‘The Free School Under The Bridge’, where hundreds of children living in shacks and hutments close to the Yamuna Bank metro station get education, is run by its founder Rajesh Kumar Sharma. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThe sole breadwinner of his family of five who live in Laxmi Nagar, Sharma belongs to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district and runs a small grocery shop in the same locality to support his family. The 49-year-old’s journey of teaching more than 300 children of slum dwellers, ragpickers, rickshaw-pullers and beggars began with two children in 2006 when the idea came to his mind while wandering around the empty fields close to the Yamuna river. Today, he runs two shifts — one from 9-11 am for 120 boys and the other 2-4.30 pm for 180 girls — with the help of seven teachers who live in nearby areas and in their free time, volunteer to teach the students aged between four and 14 years. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe open house school, whose roof is a Delhi metro bridge, has five blackboards painted on the wall of the metro complex and some stationary such as chalks and dusters, pens and pencils. The children, who sit on the ground covered with carpets, bring their own note books and study in groups. The place is far from traffic and the noise of frequently passing metro trains hardly gets noticed by the students. Sharma, who could not complete his B.Sc and dropped out of college due to his family’s poor financial condition, says that no one should be deprived of education due to poverty and to fulfil his or her dream, he dedicates over 50 hours a week to the children. Although he started the movement of educating the poor children on his own, Sharma is now assisted by teachers Laxmi Chandra, Shyam Mahto, Rekha, Sunita, Manisha, Chetan Sharma and Sarvesh who take classes on their free will and none of them get paid for the deed. Sharma says that he has never been approached by any government representative for any kind of assistance although he has seen many regime changes ever since he started his journey 13 years ago. However, he has no complaints against anyone, saying I am driven by my selfless goal of educating these poor and underprivileged children whose smile is more than enough for me. Initially some NGOs contacted me and tried to be associated with the makeshift school but I never allowed them as they all looked suspicious. None of them were serious about the children’s education and their future. “All they were interested in was making money by showing something and claiming something else. I did not approve of their way of functioning which had many loopholes and room for discrepancies, he said. Sharma said he only receives genuine contribution from individuals that too not in the monetary form. Some people visit the school occasionally and distribute biscuit packets, fruits, water bottles and packaged food. Some youngsters celebrate their birthdays with the children, cut cakes here and have food together by sitting beneath the bridge. “Such occasions make them feel that they are also the part of the society no matter where they live or what background they belong to, he said. Sharma not only conducts regular classes for the students, but also gets them enrolled into the nearby government schools and ensures that they devote sufficient time to their education. He maintains a record of the students and conducts their attendance. If a student is absent beyond a reasonable period, he contacts their family and tries to know the reason for the absence. Six-year-old Sunita says learning here is fun and she tries to be regular as much as possible. I want to achieve big in my life and that is why I come here every afternoon. Sometimes the school is closed due to bad weather like heavy rain or thunderstorm but my passion for studies never gets weakened, she said. Teachers here are very supportive and encouraging and work very hard for every one, said another student Suresh. I never knew the value of education before coming here. Now I dream of becoming a successful and responsible person and want to support my family after the completion of my education, he said. Sharma said the children always remain cheerful whenever they study because they know that their future is in their hands if they continue their studies seriously. Sometimes, some children get absent for days as they have to assist their families due to extreme poverty. No child wants to discontinue his or her studies but they also have to make their ends meet.last_img read more