In rural Liberia, thanks to the support of the Government of Japan, WFP and its partners, hundreds of farmers have transformed swamplands into lush rice fields and created gardens heavily laden with vegetables.
Marie Zuo, Musu Tokpa, and Mamiata Singbe are beaming behind a bucket full of fresh eggplants and peppers. They are part of among nearly 25 women (and a few men) of the Donfah Rural Farmers Group in Donfah, Bong County, in the north-central part of Liberia.
The group has a lot of things to be proud of. Over the past three years, they have seen swamplands metamorphose into lush rice fields and gardens heavily laden with vegetables.
How did they do it?
A mix of things. Learning, for one, to produce better rice, by using a better water and pest control mechanisms. Planting better seeds. All leading not only to grow enough food to eat, but also to have some to sale and make a profit.
In nearby Melekie, on the outskirts of Gbarnga town, the War Affected Rural Women Group are operating a mammoth 20.3 hectares of lowland covered in green rice fields.
WFP and its partner, Catalyst Incorporated, started the four-year “Community-Based Sustainable Food Security of Smallholder Rice Producers” project funded by Japan in 2013 in Bong County.
It works with 450 farmers (more than half of them women) across ten communities in Bong County.
The farmers learn how to rehabilitate swamplands into rice fields, repair or build infrastructure so that they have easier access to markets to sell their products, learn how to diversify their food productions by establishing vegetable gardens whilst receiving WFP food assistance for their work - as part of WFP's Food for Assets programme-as well as seeds for planting.
It is a perfect example of people transforming their communities and their lives with the right type of support.
Photos and text: WFP/John Monibah