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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

1. Liberia: Women mix indigenous and NERICA rice in effort to bridge “hunger gap” (Inter Press Service)

Three brightly-clothed women enter a clearing strewn with charred trees. Each carries seashells filled with indigenous rice seed. They spend their day hunched over, using small spades to dig in rich soil. Between them, they plant three hectares of rice under a blazing sun. Their indigenous variety of rice will be ready for harvest in about six months.These women are the sole providers for their children. They belong to a local cooperative known as the Women and Children Development Secretariat. Their goal is to keep food on their table year round. In the past, indigenous rice crops have not providedbeen enough. So this year, the women will also plant NERICA rice.
The cooperative’s farm is in eastern Liberia’s Grand Gedha County. They planted the indigenous rice on the upland portion of their field. NERICA will be planted in the swampy lowland.

NERICA is short for New Rice for Africa. It’s a hybrid variety created to produce high yields, tolerate drought, and resist common pests. It is also early maturing, so farmers can get harvest more crops per year. The Liberian government promotes NERICA as an answer to the rainy season hunger gap. A German NGO donated NERICA seed to the cooperative.

Jeanet Gay is a member of the cooperative. She still mourns her husband, mother, father, and brothers, all lost during Liberia’s civil war. She is determined to take care of her children. She hopes that planting both indigenous and NERICA rice will provide enough food and income.

Betty Doh is the founder of the cooperative. She also hopes that the addition of NERICA will boost their rice yields. But she knows NERICA is not a guaranteed solution. She observes that the cooperative lacks fertilizer and effective pest deterrence. These inputs are important to achieving good yields with NERICA. And unlike indigenous rice seed, which can be saved year after year, NERICA seed should be purchased every two years.

3 Responses to “1. Liberia: Women mix indigenous and NERICA rice in effort to bridge “hunger gap” (Inter Press Service)”

  1. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly: Says:

    […] 1. Liberia: Women mix indigenous and NERICA rice in effort to bridge “hunger gap” (Inter Press Serv… […]

  2. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Notes to broadcasters on hybrid sorghum: Says:

    […] of stories which look at farmer success with hybrid seeds and traditional crops, including: -“Liberia: Women mix indigenous and NERICA rice in effort to bridge ‘hunger gap’” (FRW#66, May 2009): -“Zimbabwe: Government promotes open-pollinated seeds over hybrids” […]

  3. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Notes to broadcasters on improving African rice: Says:

    […] are some FRW news stories about NERICA and rice in general: -Liberia: Women mix indigenous and NERICA rice in effort to bridge “hunger gap” (Inter Press Service) -Uganda: Imported rice levies encourage local production (by Joshua Kyalimpa, […]

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