The LSU AgCenter will participate in the implementation of the Food and Enterprise Development Program for Liberia, West Africa, through a recent award from the U.S. Agency for International Development Mission in Liberia.
The LSU AgCenter will partner with Development Alternatives, Inc., which was awarded the $20 million grant for the project. The LSU AgCenter’s portion of the five-year grant will total about $3.4 million, said Lakshman Velupillai, head of the LSU AgCenter’s International Programs office.
“The LSU AgCenter’s role in the program will focus on four of Liberia’s counties in areas including agricultural extension support with particular focus on the Liberian rice value chain and collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Center to improve farmers’ access to fertilizer, improved seeds and other inputs,” said Velupillai.
Other areas of the program include promoting gardening projects, supporting baseline surveys, developing data collection systems, transforming existing vocational training centers into centers of excellence and establishing enterprise service centers in rural districts.
“This project marks the second time the LSU AgCenter has provided support to the people of Liberia,” Velupillai said. “Our direct involvement in support of Liberia began in 1981 when it received a USAID award to implement the Liberia Agricultural Research and Extension Project.”
That program involved support to the Liberian Central Agricultural Research Institute, the premier agricultural research institution in the country, to conduct applied research on crops and livestock applicable to Liberian conditions.
“The project also developed effective linkages among in-country research, extension and development programs, as well as regional and international research centers,” Velupillai said.
More than twelve professional staff were trained at the graduate level at LSU, and the program upgraded laboratories, farm equipment and vehicles to support adaptive research.
A number of LSU AgCenter specialists and others will support the current program through long-and short-term assignments, Velupillai said.Johnny Morgan
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture