ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s Biodiversity Program Yields Result in New Yekepa

“Before, we can just plot our rice stems any kind of way, but ARS has taught us to plant in line. With this, planting the rice in line can make it easy for us to move grass from the rice without damaging any,” Madam Sandah said.

Yekepa, Nimba County: – A farmers’ group in New Yekepa is praising ArcelorMittal-Liberia for incorporating it into the Biodiversity and Conservation Project (BCP) for communities impacted by the company’s operations.

The Feawaseh Farming Group became one of the supported groups in 2022 when AML released a grant of over US$116,000 to the Agriculture Relief Services (ARS) to support local farmers in the implementation of BCP project with the goal of learning new farming methods that will help reduce the pressure on the forest vegetation and mitigate climate change.

ARS as an implementing partner provides the farmers with boots, farming tools, and fertilizers to facilitate their work.

In appreciation to AML for its inclusion, the Feawaseh group invited the Environmental Manager Department, Alvin Poure, Agronomist Samuel Peter, and other staff of the department to participate in their first harvest on January 14, 2023. 

The New Yekepa Feawaseh group first ventured into lowland rice cultivation for the first time, and at the launch of the harvest, Environmental Department Manager Alvin Poure commended the farmers for taking ownership of the project.

Mr. Poure further challenged the farmers to double up for the farming season this year to cultivate the entire swamp.

The group, during the visit of ArcelorMittal’s Vice President for Environmental and Sustainable Development Grace Barrasso late last year, explained that they could not cultivate the entire swamp with rice due to late inclusion on the project.

They assured the AM Vice President and the local staff here that they would extend to the uncultivated area this year since they will be beginning much sooner. 

The group through its head extended gratitude to AML for the support through ARS and pledged to get involved in the different methods of farming being introduced to them. 

As they harvest their swamp rice, Feawaseh group does not have a storage facility to store the rice.  In this regard, the chairman of the group, Paye Lah, appealed to AML to help them construct a durable storage facility to store their rice after harvest.

Chairlady Victoria Sandah said she was grateful to AML for exposing them to new and productive farming methods for lowland cultivation.  She recalled how difficult it was to apply the rudimentary method of planting that they are used to and noted that the new method makes it easy to weed grass in the rice.

“Before, we can just plot our rice stems any kind of way, but ARS has taught us to plant in line.  With this, planting the rice in line can make it easy for us to move grass from the rice without damaging any,” Madam Sandah said.


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