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Thirty-seven family heads in Tubmansville, Grand Bassa County have begun receiving cocoa seedlings and other agricultural components to financially empower them.

The seedlings are being provided by Community Empowerment for Change as part of a one-year grant funded by the American Jewish World Service. Cocoa seeds were initially purchased from Cote d’Ivoire, according to the NGO’s executive director, Emmanuel Bealded. The seeds were then placed in a nursery and after a period of maintenance by agricultural technicians, 37 beneficiaries were selected from targeted communities and were trained to plant and maintain the cocoa seedlings.

He said a total of 3,700 seedlings would be distributed to family heads with valid land in Tubmansville. Bealded added that each of the 37 beneficiaries also received one honey bees’ hatchery and snails as part of the project. He further noted that the snails will be raised between now until the dry season when they will be sold. During that time, they are scarce on the market, and the profits they bring in are maximized.

He maintained that the beneficiaries were trained in raising snails and beekeeping, which he described as a forgotten agricultural activity in Liberia. The project also has a sustainable component, as Bealded said it aims to strengthen rural community member’s livelihood while promoting the upkeep of forests.
He added that his organization inspects each family’s land to ensure that it is suitable and instructs them on how to care for the land. “We send our technicians there to tell them what next to do and with that, they can make more money,” he said.

Bealded said the project will continue for as long as funding exists. “People don’t know that these things are part of agricultural activities which can bring in money for our community dwellers but we just want to encourage our people to be strong, because we will be with them, train them to get used to these activities to make their own money through agriculture,” he said.
Community Empowerment for Change is a nonprofit community-based organization founded 2012 to train and empower rural Liberians.

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