Solidaridad trains 13 youths as facilitators on million dollars oil palm program
Solidaridad West Africa has completed a week-long training for oil-palm facilitators under the Sustainable West Africa oil-Palm Programme (SWAPP). Thirteen young community-college graduates were recruited to serve as oil palm facilitators for a period of one year under the SWAPP programme, the entity said in a release.
SWAAP Programme Manager, J. Cyrus Saygbe Sr., said the training qualifies the young graduates to join Solidaridad’s partners in SWAAP’s implementing counties which include Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa, and Nimba.
“They will implement the project through the provision of Best Management Practices technology to smallholder farmers as well as SMEs under the project’s support. Young facilitators will also work with selected youth groups who will be trained to provide farm management services to smallholder farmers on a for-fee basis, and serve as aggregators for the SMEs, ensuring that Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) are made available for the envisaged 1ton/hr mill under the project”, he said.
He also emphasized that the facilitators will also work with potential women groups that are involved with value addition activities for Oil palm in the project five intervening counties.
He added that the facilitators are now ready to go back to their communities and begin the process of promoting sustainable production, and providing the right kind of techniques that will enable smallholder farmers to increase yields of oil-palm in Liberia.
Saybe disclosed that the programme has brought in 40,000 improved pre-germinated seed nuts that are being nursed in the 5 counties through the SMEs. “To ensure that the farmers have the right training and support they need to plant and manage the right kind of seeds, these foot-soldiers have been prepared to take up that task”, he said.
He furthered that improved processing mills with the capacity of 1 ton per hour will be set up in four of the counties, while an existing mill in Bomi County will be upgraded. “Once those mills are commissioned, there will be a need for a lot of fruits, we want to be ready when that time comes,” he said.
It is expected that farmers will now have the market to sell their FFBs to the Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that Solidaridad is partnering with, and improve their living conditions.
A female facilitator who was also trained said she was excited about the training as it proved to be very useful to the work she will be expected to carry out. Dedee Cooper said the session covered several essential topics that one needs to know before engaging in the task to support farmers who were struggling for technical knowledge. “I have a degree in plant and soil science, but I am new to some of the topics that were discussed here. The training meant a lot, I now have the technical knowledge to engage the farmers”, the Bong County facilitator said.
Solidaridad implements the SWAPP along with 2 other cocoa programmes in Liberia. All programs focused on stimulating sustainable supply chains through innovations in productions, marketing and trade relations, and landscape management.