Montserrado County Flag
Cassava Can Create Jobs, Address Food Insecurity’- Dey
By Robert Dixon
MONROVIA, April 9 (LINA) - Cassava Production and Marketing Coordinator of ZOA Project, Michael E. Dey, has outlined the importance of cassava as an economic development material through value addition, saying it should be used to create employment for Liberians and address food insecurity.
Speaking to reporters at a one-day exhibition held at the Ministry of Agriculture in Gardnerville, Mr. Dey described cassava as “a magic plant” in terms of its contribution to food security and employment.
“Today, we are displaying lots of cassava products, including coconut gari mix, vitamin ‘A’ cassava; fufu, high quality cassava flour, high quality starch, tapiako gari, and all produce foods from cassava,” he said.
He urged farmers and entrepreneurs to make maximum use of the cassava root in order to address food insecurity in the country, stressing, “Cassava is the second eminent food for Liberians and there is need to grow more of it.”
The overall objective of the ZOA project is to support small-scale farming households to produce enough food for consumption and sale.
“The specific objective of this project is to support more than 2,000 small-scale farming households in Margibi and Montserrado counties to increase agricultural productivity,” Dey stressed.
He explained that cassava would also help Liberians to save more money by reduction of food importation, adding, “This is a plant that can survive any season and is capable of giving variety of foods.”
The ZOA project is currently being implemented in rural Montserrado and Margibi counties, where some 350,000 people are food insecure (respectively 75% and 54% of all households).
According to Dey, the project is also active in Bong, Cape Mount, Bomi, Margibi and Gbarpolu Counties where some 1,500 Liberian farmers have been trained, and pointed out that there is a plan to reach to other areas of the country.
He added that some of the produce from farmers and entrepreneurs today are being sold in various supermarkets in the country.
He said the exhibition was intended to display some of what is done in the field with farmers and processors to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Speaking earlier, Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah hailed the project as a milestone for Liberia. “I am very pleased that ZOA is one of the leaders in the cassava enterprise in Liberia.”
Through ZOA, Minister Zinnah said, Liberian farmers are now adding value to cassava and producing other foods, including eba, and coconut gari mix.
He said the ministry will work closely with ZOA and other partners to ensure that value is added to cassava in order to increase food in the country.
“We want to also encourage other farmers and entrepreneurs to engage in activities that will increase the production of food for the people of Liberia,” he added.