Extension Agronomist Assists Liberian Rice Farmers
NDSU Extension agronomist Hans Kandel assisted with the implementation of an educational project for rice farmers in Liberia, Africa, in October. The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), promotes sustainable economic growth, food security, and agricultural development worldwide.
The F2F program in Liberia, implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), has shifted to a Remote Paired model – a local volunteer in Liberia paired with a U.S. based expert to allow program implementation during COVID-related travel restrictions. Virtual support from Kandel helped to provide supplementary training resources, fill in the gaps for technical areas, and share creative ideas and solutions.
The Beteba (“togetherness'' in the local language) Rice Farmer Association was founded in 2011 by the USAID-Food and Enterprise Development (FED) project in the town of Beteba in Liberia. It has 50 local rice producers (24 female and 26 male farmers), each currently operating about 3.25 acres of lowland per farming season. All the farming operations are done manually.
The farmers lack basic information and knowledge on post-harvest rice management, thus resulting in losses due to spoiling, bruising, pests and disease attacks, spillage, contamination, and poor storage practices. The objective of this two-week assignment was to build capacity and to equip the Beteba Rice Farmer members with practical knowledge in good rice post-harvest handling practices and storage.
Kandel provided the local agronomist, Oliver Musa Lavelah, with a lesson outline, a PowerPoint with easy-to-understand teaching cartoons, and video clips on solar drying and moisture testing. During the assignment, Kandel communicated regularly with Lavelah. Farmers received hands-on training in all aspects of correct harvesting and post-harvest management.
Source: Hans Kandel
Editor: Kamie Beeson