Monrovia Representative of the Makona River Rice Farm, Oretha S. Bundoo, said though the process was not easy , the organization remains focused in increasing the production of rice, land clearing, irrigation management and local farmers training. Mrs. Bundoo said the issue of rice production in Liberia cannot be overemphasized and Makona River Rice farm is poised to taking the lead in the production of rice in the Lofa area. They are producing rice in two locations, Sorlumba Township and Kolochoe, all in the Foya District area. “If we have equipment like swampland Rice Transplanters, Rice nursery seeder, tractors and Rice thrashers, which are cardinal to increasing rice production in Swamps, we will address the issue of food in Liberia. We have people who are willing to invest their energies to help solve Liberia food crisis, mainly rice,” Mrs. Bundoo said.
Mrs. Bundoo said even though the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in June of this year donated a brand new power tiller machine to the Makona River Rice Farm to boost its rice production, there is still a need for the MOA to focus on getting farmers ready before the farming season start. "The beginning of Farming season in Liberia shouldn't be limited to April, some farmers will like to be operating year round. We are also appealing to the government and partners to introduce a buy back or incentives base program for RICE GROWERS in this country," she said. She said rice growers in this country are at the mercy of poorly structured rice buyers or millers, they take growers paddy rice on credit without paying, an issue that is limiting growers from expanding in their productions every farming season. Rice growers are willing to work hard and expand rice production in Liberia and with an organize buying rate of paddy rice, an incentives to rice growers, we can change the issue of Rice production in Liberia.
The first harvest of 100 hectares led to celebration, organized by the Makona River Rice Farm’s management with commitment to support the hard working local farmers by sharing the knowledge of irrigation or water management, rice transplanting with a transplanter instead of hands, lowland plowing, weeds management and harvesting. Mrs. Bundoo expressed gratitude to the workers for ensuring the realization of the harvest and promised to continue to provide support. Mrs. Bundoo said that the Makona River Rice Farm has over 100 workers, of which 60% are females. She said Makona River Rice Farm and local farmers are answering the call by the president and the minister of agriculture to increase rice production in Liberia, especially in Lofa County region but some local farmers are afraid that millers will take their rice on credit without paying and when they complain, they becomes black listed.