ArcelorMittal Support Combines Financial Growth through Village Saving Loans and Sustainable Agriculture
By: Wremongar Joe
MONROVIA: Agriculture Relief Services (ARS) is spearheading an innovative sustainable agriculture project, generously sponsored by ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML).
The executive director of ARS, P. Luogin Lah, has been speaking of the project recently as we reported earlier, outlining the benefits of the multifaceted program which aims at transforming agriculture, lifting communities in Nimba County.
The sustainable agriculture project is heavily concentrated in towns and villages around the mountains in Nimba County where ArcelorMittal has its ore mines operating.
Director Lah said by teaching farming on a designated plot, villagers on the project can engage in diverse activities ranging from cultivating tree crops to growing vegetables, beans, and even participating in village saving loans.
Lah emphasized the importance of this financial component, stating, “ArcelorMittal listened to our proposal and give them a seed fund so that they can extend cash loans to each other and generate profit.”
At the end of each period, farmers divide the interest, ensuring a perpetual seed fund with hundreds of farmers across ten communities in the affected areas benefiting from this initiative.
Lah highlighted the impact, noting, “The communities have benefited from the project by producing items that they themselves consume and even sell in the local market.”
Additionally, he said the project squarely funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia ensure that warehouses are erected to facilitate storage for those cultivating tree crops like cocoa.
The project extends beyond traditional farming agriculture, with a school garden component targeting select schools to educate children on basic sustainable agriculture systems.
The focus is on crops like swamp rice, beans, and peanuts and aims to reduce dependence on commercial fertilizers, promoting self-sufficiency in town and villages.
Looking forward, Lah outlined the next phase, which involves providing labor support and small machinery to farmers.
He said Gbarpa, Yekepa, Camp #4, Bonla, Gboni, and other communities are already reaping the benefits, paving the way for a sustainable and empowered agricultural future in Nimba County.
Many of the communities see this support by ArcelorMittal Liberia as one of the most outstanding contributions to communities that host its mining operations.
They believe that the support to Agriculture Relief Services to teach local farmers g in sustainable farming benefits villages by preserving the environment, ensuring long-term food security, and promoting economic stability through practices that conserve resources and support local ecosystems.
This support to communities in Nimba through sustainable agriculture will help mitigate the impact of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing soil health, and promoting biodiversity.
When sustained and done properly, the effort stands to also foster resilience, as sustainable agriculture itself can be better adapted to changing climate conditions, ensuring a more secure food supply for communities and the country.