Inspiring Encounter in Liberia: When the Board Members Discover Women’s Ingenuity in Market Gardening
In the spirit of a strong and sustainable West African agricultural sector, the Board of Directors of the Network of West African Farmers and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations (ROPPA) thoughtfully organized its first meeting of 2023, from July 27 to 29, in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. The board, always mindful of the importance of a close and constant link between theory and practice, dedicated a significant portion of its time to direct immersion in the local agricultural field.
Traveling to the community of Kunakata, located in the Margibi region, the board members were able to meet a group of women engaged in a local, innovative, and resilient agro-economic practice: the Kwagaiye. A symbolic name, carrying optimism and cohesion, which means “together we can make it”. This collective of women specializes in market gardening, specifically, in the production of vegetables.
Beyond the economic aspect, the Kwagaiye group represents a real vector of social development. Not only does it provide a source of income and livelihood for the women who are members, but it also serves as a platform for personal affirmation and leadership. These women exert a positive influence on their community and are a tangible manifestation of the values of empowerment and interdependence.
This immersion in the field offered the board members a valuable perspective, a direct look at agricultural realities, the challenges the women of the Kwagaiye group face, as well as the innovative strategies they deploy to meet them. In parallel, the group was able to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of the board members. Thus, the visit facilitated a learning exchange and capacity building, fostering constructive dialogue and mutual cooperation.
The direct involvement of ROPPA on the ground is a concrete manifestation of its commitment to local agricultural communities. This highlights the crucial role agriculture plays in the sustainable development of West Africa and confirms the need for ongoing and dynamic support for groups like Kwagaiye. These grassroots initiatives significantly contribute to local agriculture and economy, but they also play a vital role in women’s empowerment and community development.
There is undoubtedly much to be done. The agricultural world is faced with many challenges, from climate change to socio-economic inequalities. However, the experience of Kwagaiye shows that with solidarity, ingenuity, and support, great strides can be made. As the name Kwagaiye so rightly suggests, “together we can make it”, a motto that, more than ever, should guide our efforts towards a prosperous and sustainable African agricultural future.
Communication and Knowledge Management Officer