The Significance Of Prioritizing The Agriculture Sector In Liberia; Agriculture Is The Way Forward.
The Agricultural Sector is now the only way out, prioritization is needed urgently. This sector plays a very important role in developing a nation, it has made lots of significant contributions in the economic prosperity of advanced countries and even less developed countries.
It’s necessary that the government puts more emphasis on the agricultural sector since we are confronted with a precipitous price reduction in our major export commodities ( Rubber and Iron Ore, etc. ) due to an oversupply on the world market by other countries.
The Agricultural Sector will contribute constructively and vigorously to the overall economic development of our country if supported overwhelmingly.
Agriculture makes its contribution to economic development in the following ways:
1. By providing food and raw material to non agricultural sector of the economy.
2. By providing investable surplus in the form of savings and taxes to be invested in non agricultural sector.
3. By creating demand for goods produced in non agricultural sector.
4. Earning valuable foreign exchange through the export of agricultural products.
5. Providing employment to a vast army of uneducated, backward and unskilled labour.
The Agricultural Sector is a backbone of an ingredients to mankind and now raw material for industrialization.
The leading industrialized countries of today were once predominantly agricultural while developing countries have the dominance of agriculture and it largely contributes to national income, for example India.
28% of the National income of India comes from the agricultural sector, this clearly indicates that agricultural prosperity contribute considerably in fostering economic development.
Agriculture is the basic source for food supply of all the countries of the world, whether underdeveloped, developing or even developed. The populations in developing and underdeveloped countries are increasing rapidly and the demand for food is increasing at a fast rate which threatens our food security.
What becomes of the survivability of Liberians if China, Taiwan, India and the United States are confronted with a situation where they cannot feed us?This is a question that needs an answer.
The Government needs to rethink, the allocation of $8.2 millions USD out of $570 millions to the Agricultural sector is infinitesimal and frustrating.
This amount is equivalent to just 1.4 % of the entire 2018/2019 Draft Budget which contradicts the AU Maputo Declaration that was signed in Mozambique 2003.
The Government of Liberia agreed and signed to a declaration which states “ All AU countries must allocate 10% or more of her national budget to the Agricultural Sector” on a contrary we have allocated just 1.4 % of our entire budget.
The downplayed of the Agricultural Sector is a serious impediment to the growth of our country’s economy.
The development of this sector is needed urgently, as a student reading forestry with emphasis in agriculture and with the level of research done, I can clearly say our health is threatened seriously.
Let me give you an outstanding overview, 75% of the imported foods(chicken, pig foot, etc.) come from an Inorganic process, 99.9 % of the imported rice comes from Inorganic farming.
Basically there are two types of farming, Inorganic farming and Organic farming.
Inorganic farming: is the farming process where
Chemical nutrients are added to the Soil ( pesticides and toxic chemicals).
Advantages : 1. It increases crop yields and improves poor quality. 2. Crops grow faster, etc.
Disadvantage: It gives you a short life span, the pesticides and toxic chemicals have tremendous potential for causing chronic diseases like: Cancer, Diabetes and Heart diseases.
Organic farming: is the farming process where chemicals are not to the soil for the growing of crops, the soil becomes fertile by dead organisms.
Advantages: 1. It slows down global warming 2. Gives you a better health 3. Pollution of ground water is stopped 4. Fewer residues in food.
Note: It’s affordable for Government
Farmers/ Agronomists agreed to divert to Inorganic farming due to the increased in the world’s population. 99% said that it is better for people to have a short life span then to died from starvation.
Liberians are alluding to this tendency because we cannot feed ourselves, and the government can’t provide the adequate support in overcoming this nightmare. 171 years of existence and our survivability depends on another country, it is a disgrace, hope our government rethinks and adhere to the below recommendations.
1. Government must ensure that the country has a digital soil map to assist Investors.
2. According to a research done, Liberia soil pH stands at 4.5% , which is acidic for plants growth, the Ministry of Agriculture should intensify farming education on soil testing analysis for local farmers to know the actual pH of the soil before planting their crops.
3. Government should vehemently intensify funds for the Agricultural Sector or must adhere to the AU Maputo Declaration of 2003 on Agriculture.
5. Government should step up the awareness on how farmers can make proper usage of the land, rather than the traditional shifting cultivation style of farming.
6. Government should provide enough foreign scholarships for Agriculture and forestry students.
7. Government must create a better and effective learning environment for Agriculture and forestry students.
A better Liberia is inevitable when Agriculture becomes a priority.
Daniel TD Pongay
University of Liberia
College of Agriculture and General Forestry
Email: [email protected]
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