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TMCNet:  South-South Cooperation in Liberia (part I)

[June 23, 2014]

South-South Cooperation in Liberia (part I)

(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) China's playing its part in projects of the United Nations to improve global food security under the framework of South-South Cooperation (SSC).

FAO co-signed two new tripartite agreements with China,Liberia and Senegal respectively to support implementation of a series of food security initiatives and projects in Liberia and Senegal in November 2011. The agreements were signed in the context of the Strategic Alliance between FAO andChinaon SSC in support of programs for food and nutrition security in selected countries. The funding provided through the new agreement comes from a FAO-China Trust Fund of $30 million.


Under the agreement withLiberia,Chinawill contribute over one million dollars and provide technical assistance through 24 Chinese experts and technicians to support implementation of the country's National Program for Food Security over a two-year period.

"At a time when continued economic uncertainties are having an impact on the flow of traditional North-South development assistance, South-South Cooperation is creating and building on partnerships that support the direct exchange of financial and technical contributions between developing countries," said Laurent Thomas, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department.

"FAO's experience with South-South Cooperation has shown that the knowledge and skills of technical experts and field technicians from the (global) South have made an invaluable contribution to efforts to modernize small-scale agriculture throughout the developing world," he added.

FAO's SSC initiative was launched in 1996 to provide technical support to country-level action on food insecurity.

South-South Cooperation in Liberia According to the tripartite agreement signed by Chinese government, Liberian government and FAO, Chinese South-South Cooperation team arrived atLiberiain May, 2012 and implemented the project until April, 2014. During the last 2 years, under the supervision and guidance of FAO and the leadership of Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Chinese Embassy in Liberia, and with close cooperation of Liberian MOA, Chinese SSC team has overcome many difficulties in the implementation of the project, carried out many activities and achieved a lot in training of agricultural technicians, impartment of practical skills, technical exchange and cooperation, and promotion of agricultural development etc.

The Chinese Embassy in Liberia held a welcome reception for Chinese South-South Cooperation team on 7 June 2012.

Basic Information: Generally, China-Liberia SSC team cooperated with Liberian MOA in rice production, animal husbandry, aquaculture, vegetable production, plant protection, farm machinery, water conservancy and so on. There are 5 experts and 19 technicians in total, specifically, 1 expert in agriculture industrialization and management, 3 experts in rice production, 1 expert in aquaculture, 3 technicians in vegetable production, 1 technician in rice production, 2 technicians in horticulture, 3 technicians in plant protection, 5 technicians in animal husbandry, 2 technicians in aquaculture, 2 technicians in agriculture machinery and 1 technician in water conservancy. The Chinese SSC team was deployed in 5 duty stations, namely, Klay in Bomi county (1 expert, 3 technicians), Cari in Bong county(1 expert, 5 technicians), Tumutu (1 expert, 3 technicians), Centre Songhai in Montserrado county(1 expert, 3 technicians), and Measuagoon in Cape Mount county(4 technicians). The Chinese coordinator is located in the capitalMonrovia.

The project was supervised and guided by FAO office inLiberia, implemented by Liberian MOA and technically supported by Chinese SSC team. FAO employed Mr. Govegor as Liberian coordinator and Liberian MOA assigned a Deputy Minister and Dr. Coker George to take charge of the implementation of this project. The SSC office was located in Liberian MOA and was in charge of all the activities in the 5 duty stations. In August, 2012, Liberian MOA selected and assigned 38 college/university graduates as Liberian counterparts to each duty station and got trained by Chinese SSC team for 2 years.

The main achievements: For the past 2 years, Chinese SSC team has introduced and transferred 92 appropriate and effective technologies, introduced 33 new varieties of crops, such as vegetables, corn and seedless watermelon etc., carried out 24 pilot demonstrations, developed and delivered 6261 copies of training manuals, and carried out practical and theoretical training 743 times. The Chinese team has trained 38 Liberian counterparts and 1395 farmers and technicians. The number of beneficiaries, including farmers and technicians, reached 1547. The Chinese team has accomplished the following 6 main activities: I. Carried out field investigation and developed work plan.

II. Trained Liberian counterparts/agriculture professional technicians.

III. Carried out pilot demonstration.

I) Constructed 4 demonstration sites in high-yield rice production.

II) Carried out demonstration in seedless watermelon standardized cultivation.

III) Carried out demonstration in maize standardized cultivation.

IV) Carried out demonstration in comparative test of crop varieties and vegetable high-yield cultivation.

V) Carried out demonstration in integrated control of pests and diseases.

VI) Carried out demonstrations in livestock production.

VII) Carried out demonstrations in aquaculture.

VIII) Carried out demonstration in water conservancy.

IV. Carried out technical transferring to local communities V. Carried out technical exchange and cooperation with other projects.

Effective and appropriate technologies transferred with great impact I. Non-tray rice seedling raising in dry-bed nursery with parachute transplanting.

II. Seedless watermelon high-yield cultivation technology.

III. Integrated control of pests and diseases.

IV. Gelding and Spaying technology.

V. The repair and maintenance of small agricultural machinery.

Effect and impact I. Built the capacity of Liberian counterparts.

The direct achievement is that 38 university/college graduates have been successfully trained by Chinese SSC team in practical technologies, theoretical knowledge and agricultural extension and management. Up to now, all the 38 counterparts have mastered practical skills proficiently and known how to apply them properly in practice, and also have the ability to transfer independently the knowledge they've leant to farmers and technicians. For example, the Liberian counterparts in Cari could provide technical assistance in raising seedlings, field management and livestock production to the surrounding farmers, which indicated that the capacity-building objective of China-Liberia SSC project has been achieved.The indirect achievement is that the Liberian counterparts, as national agricultural professionals, can strengthen the technical force in agricultural management and technical extension and provide the great support for national sustainable development in agriculture.

Liberian counterparts lecturing in workshops II. Boosted the development of host units.

Through the construction of demonstration sites and training of technical staff, the training facilities have been improved and the capacity of the technical staff has been greatly improved, which will contribute to the development of the host entities. The entities can benefit from the SSC project economically and technically.

III. Built the capacity of the trained farmers.

Chinese agricultural technologies are practical, effective and appropriate. The farmers are willing to accept and apply Chinese practical skills because of the advantage of low cost, high efficiency and adaptability to local conditions. The farmers increased their income greatly after application of Chinese new technologies and introduction of Chinese new varieties, which, as a result, will stimulate them to expand their farmlands and stimulate other farmers to engage in agriculture.

IV. Expanded the impact of SSC project with the cooperation of other projects.

Through cooperation with other projects, including national projects and international projects, Chinese agricultural technologies were widely spread and the number of beneficiaries increased.

V. Gradually influenced and changed the ideology of Liberian agricultural development.

The implementation of the project has brought new ideology of agricultural development that has influenced the traditional agricultural mode greatly and made Liberian agricultural personnel find out solutions to the existing issues in the agricultural development and draw on experience of Chinese agricultural development, and as a result establish a practical and effective policy suitable for Liberian agricultural development.

VI. Some other unexpected effects have been achieved.

Firstly, Chinese SSC team has given a series of technical and administrative advices in each special area through implementation of the project, which provide reference for the agricultural development inLiberia. Secondly, the spirits of diligence and self-reliance showed by Chinese team impressed on Liberian people greatly. When they saw Chinese people working in the field in all weathers, they can understand whyChinadevelops fast and that fortune only comes from hard work. Thirdly, a close friendship has been established between Chinese and Liberian people, which will promote further economical and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Liberian agriculture investment workshopA meeting for Liberian Agricultural Development held inHunan,China Successful experience I. The project is greatly supported by FAO, Liberian MOA and Chinese MOA.

II. The project was widely publicized.

III. Chinese team cooperated with other projects actively Some suggestions are made about Liberian agricultural development.

Based on the baseline information we collected and the work experience during the implementation of the project, we offer the following suggestions about agricultural development inLiberia: I. Establish an effective agro-technical extension system all over the country.

Firstly, more agro-technical extension worker must be trained. Secondly, more agro-technical extension agencies all over the country must be established. The extension system must make sure that most farmers can get technical assistance whenever they want.

II. Establish more infrastructural facilities, especially irrigation facilities.

Irrigation facilities can supply water for the farmland, especially in dry season. The road system can transport the agro-products to the markets as soon as possible. More investment in infrastructural construction must be made.

III. Establish a stimulating policy to promote the mass production in agriculture.

Liberian MOA must have short-term and long-term plans for agricultural development. MOA must establish a stimulating policy in agriculture and support the farmers in mass production technically and financially, especially for the crops that affect the economy of the country.

IV. Establish a marketing system for agro-products.

Available markets can ensure farmers to make money from their agro-products, which will encourage farmers to produce more. There must be agencies that can collect the marketing information and inform the farmers in time.

(To be continued) Copyright Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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