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Liberia: UN $2m for depleted rice seed stocks

Published: Tue 23 Dec 2003 08:57 AM
UN agency seeks $2 million to replenish Liberia’s depleted rice seed stocks
Liberia’s seed stocks have been so depleted by 14 years of civil war that only one in four farmers have access to rice seeds for next year’s season, prompting a United Nations food agency appeal to redress the problem.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called on donors to provide $2 million to ensure that 70,000 families in Liberia receive 700 tons of rice seeds. Rice, along with cassava, is a staple crop of the West African country.
The situation is urgent because rice seeds have to be obtained and distributed between January and April of next year, in time for the annual planting season from April to June.
The FAO’s Representative in Liberia, Subraman Thirugnanasambanthar, said the amount of money needed is not much given the food security it could provide to farmers living in stable parts of the country.
“Stimulating agricultural production is far more cost-effective and sustainable in the long-term than providing food aid to the same number of people,” he said.
Liberia is trying to recover from the devastating effects of a civil war that lasted from 1989 until August of this year, when a ceasefire was announced. As a result of the war, malnutrition is widespread, especially among children.

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