Gbartala, Liberia soybean observation demonstration plot sponsored by The Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Church Aid, Inc. of Liberia in collaboration with EYN church in Nigeria and SIL.New journeys often begin with tentative “first steps” as evidenced by an on-going initiative of The Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Church Aid, Inc. Liberia to explore soybean as a new crop option for their smallholder farmer countrymen. The Liberian initiative is an outgrowth of a September 2016 study tour sponsored by the Elgin, Illinois, USA based Church of the Brethren for small delegations from Nigeria and Liberia to visit SIL’s SMART FARM in Ghana. Dr. Dennis Thompson, PI of SIL’s MRA-10 “Seed Systems,” was the project leader.The delegation members from the two West African nations bonded while in Ghana and a unique collaboration was born. The EYN church colleagues from Nigeria, having certain soybean experience and agronomic knowledge, offered to assist their Liberian counterparts. The immediate challenge was to determine how best to move forward in Liberia in view of the challenge of doing so with limited technical and financial resources.SIL’s recommendation to the collaborators was to initially establish a few soybean observation plots. Persons to be engaged with soybean introduction in Liberia as well as smallholder farmers simply needed to see growing soybean plants and have ongoing opportunities to observe how the plants grow and develop – from planting throughout harvest. A demonstration of this type was intended to be only a “conversation starter” with common Liberians and various organizations seeking to improve the livelihoods of Liberian farmers.To that end, Nigerian and Liberian collaborations began and a demonstration plot was planted in the central city region of Gbatala. In addition to the central demonstration site, “small, small experiments, just a handful of seeds in a couple of areas” were also planted according to the Bishop, Dr. Rev. Kortu K. Brown, who participated in the 2016 study tour to SIL’s SMART Farm and has collaborated with Dr. Thompson on agricultural development initiatives since 2014.The Rev. Dr. Brown welcomes additional collaboration discussions that might allow this initial effort to be further developed with respect to exploring how soybean might become a potential cash crop for limited resource Liberian smallholder farmers.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
With just one day left before Christmas, businesses in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are still hoping for an increase in sales.While it is customary for business to bloom around this time of year, many businesses in the community have complained that things have not “picked up” as yet.According to some, this may be due to late payment of salaries and bonuses for some employees. Others have indicated that shoppers are now shopping smart and refusing to overspend or are simply “living from day to day” .Guyana Times ventured into the streets of Linden to get an understanding of the atmosphere as it relates to holiday shopping. Zeroing in on one of the main shopping areas – the Mackenzie Market Square, persons were observed shopping for household items, including decorations, vinyl and other items to enhance their homes.Long lines were also observed at commercial banks and a few shoppers were very much appalled at the steep increase in the prices of items, especially eggs which are being retailed for $1300 to $1600 per crate.“I pay $16,000 a crate for eggs. These people does just want exploit people in this place,” a female shopper remarked.This publication spoke with a few food vendors who noted that customers usually would wait until the last few days before Christmas to purchase vegetables, but this has reduced significantly.As such, they noted that they were optimistic that things would improve as the day progressed. “Well, they can’t get it to stay long so they does buy last minute. Vinyl and so people would buy early,” the proprietor of Curtis Greens Stand and Groceries noted.“Last year around this time was better, I could’ve afford to stock up my shop more . But now I frighten …because people ain’t get the spending power … most people living day to day,” he added.The businessman also pointed to a lack of jobs in the community which, he noted, is another contributing factor to the poor sales.Another vendor indicated that holiday shopping was the same last year and the year before was even worse. As a result, he said he has been stocking up “lighter” each year to avoid losses.“Things ain’t looking so perfect yet. It just getting worse and worse every year. I think things will pick up Christmas Eve day alone. You see, plenty people need these things, but they ain’t get the spending power. Linden want more jobs. That is one of the main problems. When jobs deh, money does come. Bosai is the only place right now that really contributing to jobs. If that place close down now, we might not see people,” he opined.This newspaper also spoke to a few business owners who sold decorations and household items and they indicated that sales have been slow.Overall, businesses seem to be awaiting an increase in sales. Over the past few years , vendors in the community have complained about the sloth in sales around the holiday season .Over at the Wismar market in Linden, the situation is no different, with vendors complaining. Recently , in an effort to revive shopping at the location, Regional Chairman Renis Morian and a team from the Regional Democratic Council organised a Christmas promotion there.