Ethiopian food processor and exporter Agro Prom has made the first step in changing the course of Ethiopian chickpea history and established the country’s first industrial chickpea processing and cleaning machine.
The Ebola outbreak – which has led to rising food prices and potential food shortages – reinforces the need for self-sufficiency and food security in times of crisis. Liberia has just begun to stabilize a network of rice growers and processors; rice grown in Liberia could go long way to support the Liberian population during this crisis.
William Tolbert, a Liberian citizen educated in the US, was inspired by the organic movement here and moved back to his home country in 2010 to implement organic farming techniques. He exemplifies the “Triple Bottom Line” – Environment, Economy, and Ethics – it his farming practice. Now Tolbert is building a program to provide training, support, and microloans, and connections to quality buyers for subsistence farmers so they can grow more and better produce and generate higher incomes and profits.
By the time they were planting, the good seeds were gone. The problem is that the other farmers didn’t have money to buy the good seeds when they were available. Sometimes there’s no money. A small loan can make all the difference.
There was a time before Liberia’s civil wars when agriculture was an integral part of the education system. Ten years after the end of the wars, the majority of Liberians live in poverty, depend on agriculture as a livelihoods, and grow their own food for survival. That’s changing.
Liberia is one of Africa’s poorest nations steeped in a domestic food crisis. This is how one man aims to increase food safety and food security without raising the price.
Before Liberia’s civil war, Augustine Tamba’s farm had a water pump, a sprinkler system, and a reliable well. Neighbors worked for Tamba to grow rice, cassava, corn and vegetables in the lowland farm outside of the town of Johnsonville in Montserrado County, Liberia. Tamba had market outlets in Paynesville—20 kilometers away—as well as Monrovia, the country’s capital. Before starting the farm in 1982, Tamba worked as a bank manager in a small town nearby. After a brief stint, he returned to agriculture, “the soil is Liberia’s only bank…the bank of life,” as he explains. During the war, Tamba’s farm laborers either migrated to other countries or became entangled in the bloody conflict. In addition, the market for Tamaba’s produce disappeared when Liberia’s entire economic and social system came to a halt.
Ferhan, 33, was still a young man when he dropped out of school to help his father in the family’s fields. He quit the third grade and instead of learning to read and write, he learned to plow and harvest. Ferhan’s father passed down traditional methods of agriculture to his son, techniques that Ferhan’s father had learned from his father.