Over 85 persons are expected to on Friday, Feb. 22 graduate from a 3 week training Trainer of Trainers workshop on the Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Cocoa, hosted by Solidaridad West Africa – Liberia. The training which is taking place in Ganta, Nimba County is part of the implementation of a pillow under the Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme – LICSIP which seeks to improve farm-level sustainable production and productivity. The LICSIP is funded by the European Union in Liberia.
Participants at the training are being trained both in class rooms (theory) and in the field (practical) to help them better understand the BMPs of cocoa farming as championed by Solidaridad. The training modules being taught include cocoa ecosystem, cocoa husbandry, adult learning principles, nursery establishment and management, cocoa rehabilitation and cocoa soils. Other modules include Management of farmers’ field school, facilitation skills, cocoa diseases and pests management, farm sanitation, development of cropping calendar among others.
According to the Lead Trainer, upon graduation, the facilitators are expected to return to their various communities and conduct Farmers’ Field Schools, teaching others what they have learned. Sylvanus Agordorku said the program has expanded, and there was a need to have more cocoa farmers doing the right thing, so that they can get desires yields. “To ensure that, we need to have more facilitators trained and send back to those farming communities as our foot soldiers, preaching the good and right messages” he said.
During an on-farm training on Saturday, Feb 16, Korto Tarnue of Lofa County said she excited to be a part of the training.
“Last year, a lot of people were doubting that this program was real. We were skeptical, but all of us can agree now that this is real and it is really benefiting our people. That is why my community, Zegeda, selected me and send me here to learn so that I can go back to them and train other farmers there. They all cannot wait for me to get back and begin” she said.
The Programme continues to build the capacity of farmers and farmer associations through training at Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) in selected counties of Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties on the use of best agronomic best practices in cocoa farming. In 2018, 1,226 farmers (29% females) were profiled and trained for 10 months at 35 FFS sites on improved cocoa production and best management practices. With each of the new facilitator expected to train not less than 35 new farmers at the Farmers’ Field Schools that will be established upon their return, it is expected that the number in 2018 will triple.