Vice President Boakai Expresses Satisfaction over CARI’s Activities

Saturday, 25th July 2009
VP Boakai being briefed by Dr. Subah on the NERICA field demonstration activities.
VP Boakai being briefed by Dr. Subah on the NERICA field demonstration activities.
Photo Credit: Ministry of Agriculture
Gbarnga, Bong County - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has expressed optimism over on-going activities at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County.

Vice President Boakai observed that despite the mass destruction that took place at CARI as a result of the civil conflict, coupled with inadequate scientists at the institute, positive things are happening with the limited resources being provided for its operations.

“If CARI will continue to move in the pace in which she is moving, food insecurity will be a thing of the past”, Vice President Boakai noted.

The Vice President made the observation on Saturday July 25, 2009 during a guided tour of CARI’s research and crop production sites as part of activities marking the 162nd Independence Day celebrations.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had earlier planned to visit CARI but due to a quick change in protocol, she then requested the Vice President to proxy on her behalf.  The visit of the Vice President was in manifestation of Government’s firm desire to support agriculture, which is an important factor to poverty reduction, employment creation and income generation.

Dr. J.Q. Subah, Director General of CARI informed the Vice President that 50 metric tons of high yielding foundation rice seeds (first generation) were received from the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) for multiplication.  

“The seeds are mostly NERICA (“New Rice for Africa”) and other improved varieties.  They are being multiplied by CARI and other NGOs, in collaboration with select farmers and Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) that are part of a Seed Bank Program”, Dr. Subah told the Vice President.  

The Seed Bank Program is a result of donors support to the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at assisting smallholder farmers increase rice production to sustain them.  

The seeds were purchased by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the U.S. government’s Global Food Security Response Program (GFRP). The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is also a major contributor to this seed bank project.

During the field tour, the Vice President and other invitees inspected 0.3 hectares of demonstration plots planted in cassava, maize, yam (Chinese and “White and Water” varieties) NERICA lines 1 – 18 as well as assorted vegetables.  

The fields were very impressive as the rice and root and tuber crops were seen growing vigorously.

Deputy Agriculture Minister for Research and Extension, Lwopu Kandakai and Hon. Philomena Williams, Assistant Minister for Administration added their voices in commending CARI for the improvement made on both upland and lowland ecologies.

In a related development, US Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency, Linda Thomas Greenfield and the Director of USAID, Ms. Pamela White and other dignitaries were guests of CARI on Sunday July 26, 2009.

The US Government officials were also taken on a guided tour of some on-going activities at CARI where they expressed happiness of what they saw.