SRI was introduced to Liberia in late 2012 through Robert Bimba, national coordinator for the Farmer Union Network (FUN) of Liberia and president of the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), a national NGO specialized in both urban and rural areas in Liberia. Bimba learned about SRI while participating in 13-country regional workshop that was organized during July 2012 by CNS-Riz and SRI-Rice in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Later that year, encouraging initial trials with his family and a few farmers in Zubah Town, Paynesville, Monrovia, led to extended activities in CHAP (see video). When the national World Bank-sponsored West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) SRI program was approved in late 2013, CHAP was able to organize the first training of trainers in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture with the support from national WAAPP coordinator Cyrus Saygbe. The workshop, which began on December 17, 2013, brought together 84 participants from different parts of Liberia, as well participants from Sierra Leone and Mali. A subsequent Agriculture Coordination Committee meeting about SRI held in early 2014 at the Ministry of Agriculture in Gardnerville, Monrovia, was attended by 48 people from the government, multi-lateral and bilateral partnerships, donors, NGOs, farmer organizations and the private sector. The "Improving and Scaling up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa" (SRI-WAAPP) formally began in January 2014 with CHAP's Robert Bimba as the SRI-WAAPP National Facilitator for Liberia. A list of the numerous regional workshops and activities within Liberia between 2014 and 2016 are listed on SRI-WAAPP project website.
During May 2014, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf visited CHAP for the rice harvest. The following month she arranged for a group of 100 young people to work with CHAP to increase their interest in agriculture, help out CHAP's SRI efforts, and to empower youth to earn incomes through the president's initiative. In 2014, CHAP became the lead organization carrying out an SRI pilot project for the Ministry of Agriculture and WAAPP Liberia, which is part of a regional West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program. On Feb. 12-14, 2015, CHAP hosted a National Workshop on the System of Rice Intensification in Monrovia. During June 2016, Robert Bimba gave a presentation at Cornell University on CHAP's SRI work in Liberia. SRI-WAAPP training sites in Liberia as of 2016 are shown in the map below. During late 2016, CHAP began implementing a two-year project to promote SRI, introduce labor-saving equipment, and build capacity of value chain entrepreneurs. The project, which involves 1,800 lowland rice farmers in five counties (Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Montserrado), is financed by the Japanese and Liberian governments through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).
- Three-Day Training for SRI Technicians the Japanese Rice Grant Project Held
[March 9, 2015] Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) has completed a training of trainers exercise for six System of Rice Intensification Technicians (SRI Technicians) conjunction with the the Japanese Rice Grant Project. The event also included an agronomist, a monitoring and evaluation officer, an accountant, and other program staff to help expand their understanding SRI. The training included practice with the BCS 732 tractor (for land preparation) and the Garden Weasel (for weeding) in order to enhance trainers' capacities to work with the farmers in the field. The three-day training was held in both Foya Lofa County and at the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) Office, Zubah Town, Liberia.
- CHAP to Implement Japanese Rice Grant Project for Economic Recovery in Five Ebola-Affected Counties
[January 15, 2017] The Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) was selected to implement the "Japanese Rice Grant Project," which is part of a two million USD grant provided to Liberia by the Japanese government to help achieve economic recovery of Liberian rice farmers in Ebola-affected counties. The eighteen month project will involve 1,800 lowland rice farmers (1 hectare per farmer on 1800 hectare) in Lofa and five counties (Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Montserrado) and is financed by the Japanese and Liberian governments through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). The project will help farmers learn about and adapt SRI on their own farms, introduce labor-saving devices (power tillers / weeders), and promote the rice value chain by building the capacity of entrepreneurs (out-growers, processors, off-takers and marketers). The trainings and equipment should result in improved productivity (rice quality as well as quantity), increased farmer income, and an expanded cycle of rice production and processing in the target areas.
There have been several productive meetings and exchanges held during the onset of the project with CHAP, IFAD, the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Africa Rice, and others in support of the project (- see photo with representatives of these groups at right). In addition to these groups and the Governments of Japan and Liberia, CHAP has support from the World Bank, CNS-Riz (Mali), and SRI-Rice (Cornell University) to implement the Japanese Rice Grant project.
- Robert Bimba Gives Presentations at Cornell University
[June 15, 2016] Robert Bimba, Executive Director of the Community of Hope Agricultural Project (CHAP) and Liberia's SRI National Facilitator, made a presentation about the history and progress of SRI in Liberia on June 14 (see PowerPoint). He was in New York during June to visit the Abide in the Vine Fellowship Church in Owego and to meet with SRI-Rice in Ithaca. Six members of the Owego church that support Bimba's agricultural work also came to Cornell to have discussions on supporting CHAP and the SRI work in Liberia. They are currently supporting the development and acquisition of rototillers and weeders that CHAP is using in its SRI extension. A video with information on how Liberian farmers can access the SRI equipment (Power tillers and rice weeders) is available on the SRI-Rice YouTube channel.
- SRI Training Sites Expanded Under SRI-WAAPP and CHAP
- [May 20, 2016] SRI continues to expand in the areas of Liberia where rice is cultivated, as can be seen in the SRI-WAAPP Liberia site map to the right. The map, which is current as of 2016, shows 25 sites where farmers have received training in SRI since the project formally began in 2014. SRI-WAAPP has worked closely with the Community for Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) and the SRI National Facilitator, Robert Bimba.
- Three-Day SRI Seminar for Anglophone West African Countries Takes Place in Monrovia
[June 25, 2015] During a three-day SRI conference for English-speaking West African countries, Dr. Gaoussou TRAORE, Regional Project Coordinator of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP), commended Liberia for leading the program that is being implemented by WAAPP. According to an article on the Owoko website, Anglophone countries in the West African sub-region completed a three-day experience-sharing seminar on SRI at the Balla Casa hotel in Monrovia, Liberia. The event, held June 22-24, was attended by representatives from West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP) implementing countries, local SRI champions and focal research scientists on SRI. Participants from Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone traveled to Monrovia to share national experiences as well as learning from Liberia who has maximized the potentials with using SRI methods. The meeting was also meant to strengthen regional cooperation and experience sharing among WAAPP implementing countries in their effort to scale up the SRI planting method in West Africa. (For more information on the WAAPP SRI program, which is coordinated by CNS-RIZ/IER in Mali and backstopped by SRI-Rice at Cornell University, see the project website. See also article in the Daily Observer.)
- National Workshop on the System of Rice Intensification Held in Monrovia
[February 15, 2015] According to press release by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Liberia, the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) hosted a National Workshop on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) from February 12-13, 2015, at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia. The theme of the event was "Improving and Scaling-up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa," which is also the name of the project sponsored by the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP). Honorable Fofi Bimba, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee at the Lower House of the Liberian Parliament, and Dr. Abimbola A. Adubi, World Bank Co Task Team Leader to Liberia, both shown in photo at right, addressed participants of the workshop.
- CHAP Carries Out SRI Pilot Project with Ministry of Agriculture and WAAPP Liberia
[September 10, 2014] Despite the ongoing Ebola crisis in Liberia, the Ministry of Agriculture through WAAPP Liberia and the lead organization CHAP continues to accelerate agricultural adoption and dissemination of SRI in River Gee and Grand Gedeh, with eight additional counties to follow. Scaling up of rice production is being led by the farmers themselves. (Click on photo at left to enlarge.) The pilot project is part of the 3-year regional project "Developing and Scaling Up the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in West Africa" that was launched in July/August 2013. (See first quarterly report for details of Liberia pilot activities during May-August, 2014).
The pilot in Liberia began during May 2014 with seven staff hired to implement the project for an initial period of eleven months. Some of accomplishments so far include a baseline survey farmer knowledge about SRI practices, signing of MOU with all SRI farmers, training of technicians and farmers on SRI, distribution of tools on pay back plan, developing/airing of SRI radio and TV spots, and participation in the Regional SRI Training of Trainers in Togo 2014. The project has recruited 177 farmers in the six districts of River Gee and Grand Gedeh along with government agriculture staff, WAAPP Focal Persons and other local persons. Finally, CHAP held an SRI field day with 200+ people on May 9, 2014, that was attended by the H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, Hon. Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Minister, MOA, and other dignitaries. (See item below for more information on the field day and quarterly report for additional details on the pilot).
- President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Attends Harvest of SRI-Grown Rice at CHAP
[May 13 and July 21, 2014] President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf encouraged Liberians to return to the soil and engage in agriculture and food production while attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the harvesting of three hectares Nerica rice planted by the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) in Zubah Town. She noted that the introduction of the SRI is one of the many methods the Ministry of Agriculture is employing to increase rice production and CHAP has been the institution that has been using this method very successfully. She congratulated CHAP for continuing to grow, saying that many times people come up with brilliant ideas and begin projects but they never last. However, "CHAP has been doing this year after year, so let’s commend them for that," she told the audience.
Liberia's Agriculture Minister, Dr. Florence Chenoweth, praised CHAP as one of the Ministry’s success stories. A representative of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP) assured CHAP of its support in all endeavors, saying, "Our intervention in Grand Gedeh and River Gee is not the end. We will support you in the western region, the eastern region and all of our counties of intervention." [See New Dawn article on AllAfrica website for details.] The month her visit to CHAP, she arranged for a group of 100 young people to work with CHAP in order to interest them in agriculture, help out CHAP's SRI efforts, and empower them earn incomes through the president's initiative.
- Visit to Paynesville, Monrovia, Records Newfound Enthusiasm for SRI
[March 3, 2014] During Erika Styger's visit to Liberia in late February 2014, a number of people at the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) shared their SRI experiences. A video of Robert Bimba, national coordinator for the Farmer Union Network (FUN) of Liberia, describes how SRI first came to Liberia when he and his family and a few farmers on their family farm in Zubah Town, Paynesville, Monrovia, began SRI trials in late 2012. After the first year, his family and the farm employees were all very satisfied with the performance of the SRI plots. In fact, rice production at that point did not seem profitable anymore and the family debated whether to stop rice production and grow vegetables. The SRI performance turned this notion upside-down, and the family decided to continue with SRI on their land. Other SRI video interviews from the field visit include: An SRI farmer in Liberia, a Central Agricultural Research Institute researcher, a very convincing interview with Elizabeth Bimba on SRI and Sam Bimba talking about the CHAPS SRI plots. The CHAP also tested several weeders, one of which is shown in the photo at left (see also weeder video).
- SRI-Rice Supports National SRI Program in Liberia
[March 2, 2014] Under the regional project Improving and Scaling up SRI in West Africa, Erika Styger visited Liberia, from Feb 22 - March 2, 2014, to provide program support to the newly initiated national SRI program under WAAPP Liberia. Styger was interacting with programs active in the rice sector (through the Ministry of Agriculture, Oxfam, USAID funded projects among others), visited field sites for first SRI implementation (with farmers and at research station of Central Agricultural Research Institute), and provided a one-day practical training to farmers and technicians. An Agriculture Coordination Committee Meeting about SRI held at the Ministry of Agriculture, in Gardnerville, Monrovia, registered 48 people in attendance from Government, multi-lateral and bilateral partnerships, donors, NGOs, farmer organization and the private sector. A presentation, System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Opportunities for Liberia, was given by Styger at the meeting.
- Regional Project to Scale Up SRI Formally Launched
[January 1, 2014] As one of 13 participating countries in the World Bank-financed regional project "Improving and Scaling up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa" (SRI-WAAPP) that formally began in January 2014, Liberia participates in the project in regional workshops, trainings and meetings is undertaking nationally funded SRI activities through the WAAPP. Part of the larger and on-going West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), SRI-WAAPP grew out of demands for technical and training assistance in SRI from most of the 13 countries, which resulted in a commissioned project development with an initial regional workshop to design the project in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in July 2012. The first phase of the project is running from January 2014 – June 2016. For more information about the SRI-WAAPP project view the project website and the project brochure. The project's Regional Coordination Unit is a partnership between Mali's National Center of Specialization in Rice (CNS-Riz) who houses the regional coordinator and SRI-Rice as the technical and strategic partner for this project, The SRI-WAAPP National Facilitator for Liberia is Robert Bimba, based at Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP). For more about SRI activities in Liberia through the SRI-WAAPP project, visit the project's Liberia page. Since the project's initial planning workshop in 2012, Liberia has participated in the numerous regional workshop (see reports for the various national and regional SRI-WAAPP activities).
- First National SRI Workshop on SRI Takes Place in Margibi County
[December 20, 2013] The First National System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Trainers of Trainers Workshop, a three-day event took place in Kakata, Margibi County. The workshop, which began on December 17, 2013, brought together 84 participants from different parts of Liberia, as well participants from Sierra Leone and Mali. WAAPP Liberia Coordinator, Cyrus Saygbe, Sr., said the purpose of the workshop was to introduce the System of Rice Intensification in Liberia. The principal technical trainer was Daniel Saidu from Sierra Leone, who was trained by SRI-Rice in May 2013 and undertook SRI trials in Sierra Leone since 2012. Dr Gaoussou Traoré, coordinator of the regional program also participated. Representatives from more then a dozen institutions (government, NGOs, multilateral and bilateral projects, private sector) participated next to farmer leaders. Fifty participants, one third or which were women, came from all 15 counties in Liberia.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) and the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP), with funding from the World Bank. In an article in the New Dawn, Rev. Robert Bimba, who was instrumental in planning the workshop, noted that the program was meant to maximize production and profit for farmers, as well as to minimize cost. The intent of the meeting was also to train people who will be able to return to their various localities and train others about the SRI. [see workshop agenda for more information on the workshop content.]
- First SRI Trials in Liberia Follow West Africa SRI Workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
[July 2012] Representatives from Liberia attended the West Africa SRI Workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on July 26-27, 2012. According to Rev. Robert Bimba, who attended the training, SRI was first practiced in Liberia after the Burkina Faso training by members of the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) project in Zubah Town, Duport Road, Paynesville.
- 2017. Liberia: Chap strengthens technicians' skills. AllAfrica, March 9. [J-Rice Project 3-day training in Foya Lofa County and at CHAP Office in Zubah, Liberia]
- Bimba, Robert. 2017. The Japanese Rice Grant Project: Economic recovery of Liberian rice farmers in Ebola-affected counties --Status report November 2016 – January 15, 2017. SRI-Rice website. (Report of a rice project financed by the Japanese Govt. to extend rice production in five counties in Liberia) [uploaded January 18, 2017]
- Roberts, Michael. 2016. “Go beyond production” - IFAD President on value addition for agribusiness. Capitol Times Online, August 8. [IFAD pres. Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze visited the CHAP SRI project in Liberia]
2016, Capitol Times Online (Liberia)
- 2015. Sierra Leone news: WAAPP Sierra Leone on sub-regional SRI champions experience sharing in Liberia. Owoko June 25.
- Harmon, William Q. and Gloria T. Tamba. Liberia leading in WAAPP's SRI rice production. Daily Observer, June 24.
- 2015. Government of Liberia Needs to Empower Farmers to Boost Rice Production, Says Lawmaker. Oryza, June 23.
- MOA. 2015. Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) hosts National Workshop on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Liberia website. February 15.
- Styger, Erika. 2014. SRI-Rice Trip Report February 22nd - March 2nd, 2014 Republic of Liberia. SRI-WAAPP Liberia web page.
- CHAP. 2014. Pilot project on the System of Rice Intensification: Inception and first quarterly report May - August 2014. SRI West Africa website. [Report on the Ministry of Agriculture/ WAAPP Liberia pilot project in Liberia to accelerate agricultural adoption and dissemination of SRI through the lead organization Community Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP)].
- 2014. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf attends SRI field day, endorsing SRI for national food security. SRI-WAAP website. May 14.
- Kollie, Judoemue Mohmoh. 2014. President Sirleaf initiates farm jobs for 100 youth. Daily Observer, July 21. [Note: Sirleaf's said youth should return to farming in a May 13 visit to CHAP.].
- Juduh, Rewina. 2014. Ellen calls for agriculture, food production Farmer’s organization receives support, for SRI practice in Liberia. The New Dawn (reposted in AllAfrica), May 13.
- Kollie, Judoemue Mohmoh. 2014. Farmer’s organization receives support, for SRI practice in Liberia. Daily Observer, March 6.
- 2014. Liberia hosts first national SRI Training of Trainers (ToT). SRI-WAAP website. January 5.
- Kollie, Judoemue Mohmoh. 2013. National ToT workshop on SRI practices ends in Kakata. Daily Observer, December 22.
- Singebh, Ramsey N. 2013. Margibi Hosts Rice Intensification Workshop. The New Dawn, 20 December. [reposted in AllAfrica]
- Kollie, Judoemue Mohmoh. 2013. Farmers to adopt new method for rice production. Daily Observer, December 18.
- CHAP. 2013. Final Report on the SRI TOT Workshop. SRI-WAAPP website.
- National Workshop on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
Theme: Improving and Scaling-up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa
Date: February 12-13, 2015; Venue: Corina Hotel in Monrovia. "Improving and Scaling-up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa
Host: The Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP)
- First National SRI Trainers of Trainers Workshop
The workshop, which had 70 participants, was intended to implement the regional SRI commissioned project in Liberia for innovative practices. Training materials were provided by SRI-Rice for this event. Participants were from Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone.
Date: December 16-19, 2013; Venue: Kakata, Margibi County, Liberia; Organized by: Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP)
Sponsors: West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) - Liberia, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Japanese Government
Host: Ministry of Agriculture; More Information: contact Robert Bimba. Click here to view the final report on the workshop.
- Bimba, Robert. 2016. Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) - SRI in Liberia. 15 slides. PowerPoint presentation at the SRI-Rice Seminar Series, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, June 14.
- Styger, Erika. 2014. System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Opportunities for Liberia. 30 slides. PowerPoint presentation for the Agriculture Coordination Committee (ACC), Ministry of Agriculture, Monrovia, Liberia on February 17.
- 2013. Liberia Presentation. Powerpoint by Central Agricultural Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, and Farmer Union Network (FUN) of Liberia presented at the West Africa SRI Workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on July 26-27, 2012. 8 slides.
- 2016 (June 14). Liberia - Machines for SRI. 1:18 min. SRI-Rice channel, YouTube. [Information on CHAP's project in Liberia to make available to the public power tillers and rice weeding tools.]
- 2015 (April 6). CHAP TV Spot: SRI in Liberia. 1:33 min. SRI-Rice channel, YouTube.
- 2014 (March 14). SRI Farmer in Liberia. 2:32 min. SRI-Rice Channel, YouTube. [A rice farmer in Liberia talks about his experience on farming with SRI techniques.]
- 2014 (March 14). CARI Researchers in Liberia. 3:37min. SRI-Rice Channel, Youtube. [Researchers from CARI, Central Agricultural Research Institute, talk about SRI experience in Liberia]
- 2014 (March 14). Sam Bimba talks about the CHAPS SRI plots in Liberia. 4:16 min. SRI-Rice Channel, Youtube.
- 2014 (March 7). Single row manual weeder demo in Liberia. 0:19 min. SRI-Rice Channel, YouTube. [ A weeder sent to Liberia from the USA for trials with the System of Rice Intensification.]
- 2014 (March 7). Interview with Elizabeth Bimba on SRI (Liberia). 2:39 min. SRI-Rice Channel, Youtube. [Elizabeth Bimba talks about how and why she is adopting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Zubah Town, Paynesville, Monrovia, Liberia]
- 2014 (March 7). Interview with Robert Bimba on SRI in Liberia. 5:24 min. SRI-Rice Channel, Youtube. [Video statement by Robert Bimba, National coordinator for the Farmer Union Network (FUN) of Liberia, who learned about SRI during the SRI West workshop in Burkina Faso in July 2012]
- 2012 (August 22). First West Africa SRI Workshop (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso): Robert Bimba, Liberia. 1:21 min. SRI-Rice Channel, Youtube. [Robert Bimba talks about his aspirations to introduce SRI into Liberia after the workshop.]
- The SRI-Rice Liberia Photo Collection contains photographs of SRI fields taken in Liberia provided by Erika Styger