ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Partnership with ARS: A Decade of Sustainable Farming for Local Communities in Nimba

By: Wremongar Joe

MONROVIA: The executive director of Agriculture Relief Services (ARS), P. Luogin Lah, shed light on their remarkable ten-year partnership with ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) in an exclusive interview at their headquarters in Sanniquellie City, Nimba County.

This collaboration has brought sustainable agriculture to local communities affected by mining activities he said.

Lah praised ArcelorMittal’s enduring commitment to this partnership, highlighting its benefits for farmers living near the iron ore extraction sites.

He stated, “Our projects mostly benefit farmers that are affected by the mining activity of the company.”

Over the past decade, ARS, with the generous support of AML, has worked diligently to assist farmers in the impacted areas in their transition to sustainable agriculture.

Lah explained, “Sometimes they are told to move from their farms due to blasting, resulting in changes to their farming areas. We are working alongside them to maximize the use of the reduced farmland they have.”

The project, funded by ArcelorMittal, focuses on comprehensive farmer training, covering various aspects of basic farming activities.

Additionally, it provides essential farming tools and materials, such as planting resources. Lah proudly noted, “This is what we have been doing, and it’s working successfully; the farmers are enjoying it.”

However, Lah also recognized a challenge. “We looked at the situation in our county, and we know ArcelorMittal is paying taxes. Still, the local people have complained that they are not getting the right benefits of what ArcelorMittal is giving to the government, as the government has other priorities.”

It was in response to this concern that Agriculture Relief Services initiated the project, and ArcelorMittal graciously agreed to support local farmers in sustainable agriculture.

Lah’s message to ArcelorMittal was clear – to continue supporting this vital initiative that has already positively impacted dozens of farmers in Nimba County. By doing so, they can help bridge the gap between corporate responsibility and local community development.

Lad said the collaboration with AML to achieve sustainable agriculture in Nimba plays a crucial role in addressing climate change, a challenge that impacts regions like Liberia. By adopting sustainable farming, practices, local communities he believes can reduce the negative environmental consequences of agriculture, such as deforestation and soil degradation.

According to him Sustainable agriculture helps preserve natural resources and maintain biodiversity while curbing greenhouse gas emissions. In a climate-vulnerable country like Liberia, where shifts in weather patterns and increased temperatures can lead to droughts and food insecurity, sustainable farming provides resilience against these climate-related challenges.

“This method of farming exemplified by the ARS and AML partnership, helps farmers adapt to changing conditions. It promotes efficient land use, minimizes soil erosion, and conserves water resources. By training farmers and providing the necessary tools, it empowers communities to achieve food security, even when their farming areas are affected by industrial activities”, he added

He concluded that the collaboration between ARS and ArcelorMittal Liberia demonstrates how private sector involvement in sustainable agriculture can mitigate the environmental impacts of industrial activities and benefit local communities.

This model serves Luo told journalist is an inspiration for other companies to engage in responsible corporate practices, promote sustainable agriculture, and address the pressing issue of climate change in vulnerable regions like Liberia.

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