Small scale irrigated rice development  


Initially the government planned to establish only large scale irrigated rice schemes in the country, following the success of such schemes in other countries. Unfortunately the soil- and topographical surveys of the FAO team showed that the rugged Liberian landscape contained very few larger river valley basins suitable for irrigated rice cultivation with areas of over 100 ha. The teamís surveys showed, however, that a large number of small sized river valleys existed, with a potential for all year round irrigated rice cultivation, which could offer an alternative. Typically these swamp areas measured between 1 and 10 ha. Important for this type of swamp development was to establish low cost reclamation methods which could be implemented by farmers with only a minimum of investment and outside assistance. Another important issue was to solve the problem of iron toxicity, which occurred as soon as the swamps were cleared from the vegetation, after which the pH drops suddenly to below 4. Considering these two issues the projectís soil & land development specialists and rice agronomist developed a low cost land reclamation method for small scale rice production, based on the use of simple tools and local available material, which could be easily adopted and paid for by Kissi farmers.

Slideshow small scale
irrigated rice development

The rural economy
Lofa County 1970s
A pictorial story


Charles van Santen
December 2005