The Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Margaret Kilo, says unless government and partners put women first in the transformation of agriculture, the country might not succeed in achieving the desired results.
She argued that women constitute 65 percent of the actual workforce in Liberia’s agriculture sector and should therefore be recognized and given a place in the sector, especially when planning and discussing issues relative to the sector. “Let me emphasize that if we do not engage women and young girls, we are not going to get anywhere,” the AfDB executive stressed. She made the observation Monday at the launch and inception workshop of BRAC-Liberia agriculture project held at a local resort in the Monrovia suburb of Congo Town. The two-year project valued at US$1.5 million, targets 7,501 farmers and will be implemented in six counties - Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Margibi, Montserrado, Bong, and Grand Bassa. The EU-funded project will focus on food and nutrition security with emphasis on supporting the poor and food and nutrition insecure to react to crises and strengthen resilience in the country. Established in 2008 in Liberia, BRAC is an international development organization organized in Bangladesh and has over 97,000 of its global workforce as women. “If you notice in this room we are majority males, meaning women are second-hand recipients of agriculture information while they do most of the work in the sector," she noted. She wants every program, whether in cassava, rice, poultry or other value chains, to recognize and respect the role of women. Madam Kilo challenged young people selling sweets and candies between vehicles in the streets to move to agriculture, saying, “This is where I think you will earn more money than the candy and other sweets you sell among cars.” Meanwhile, the ADB Country Representative has challenged BRAC to use the media to let people know about their activities. She noted that “unless you let citizens know about your work, they will not understand or appreciate your work.”