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Liberia is a country that relies heavily on the consumption of rice and cassava for food security. Cassava is ranking second to rice as a major staple in the country. Given the fact that rice production in Liberia is very low - producing one third of total rice consumed annually (Ministry of commerce, 2010); cassava has gained attention as a supplementary source of food for enhancing food security and alleviating poverty. Despite this important role of these two crops to Liberia’s food security, their production remains relatively low in the country. Crop production in Liberia is constrained by a number of factors: pest and disease infestation, lack of improved varieties (disease resistant, drought tolerant, high dry matter content, etc), low soil fertility, shortage of planting materials (seed), lack of advanced technologies to enhance production and rapid multiplication of seed, etc. The development of new high yielding and disease resistant varieties coupled with new technologies for post harvest processing and rapid multiplication of quality planting materials (seed) could serve a starting point for boosting food security and improving the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of rural dwellers who rely on rice and cassava for food and cash income.
Given this challenge, the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) – Liberia, has reorganized her crop research program with the goal of boosting national food security and reducing poverty through crop genetic improvement. This will be the first post war crop genetic improvement program in the country. The objective of this project is to introduce new germplasm and to develop high yielding and disease resistant varieties that can be adopted by farmers in Liberia
Main activities will be carried out on requesting new germplasm, creating farmer prefered varieties, multi-locational evaluating using farmer participatory approaches; organizing farmers field schools, workshops, demonstrations; rapid multiplication of quality planting materials and training of cassava and rice producers for planting material production. At least 5 adapted cassava varieties will be developped and dissiminated to farmers.