• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Executive summary
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Maps
 Introduction
 General farming systems charac...
 Farming systems characteristics...
 Farming systems characteristics...
 Farming systems characteristics...
 Summary of county specific farming...
 Constraints, areas of investigation...
 Appendices






Group Title: Farming systems research in three counties in Liberia : a reconnaissance survey in Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong counties
Title: Farming systems research in three counties in Liberia
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054823/00001
 Material Information
Title: Farming systems research in three counties in Liberia a reconnaissance survey on Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong counties
Series Title: Applied Anthropology Documentation Project
Physical Description: xv, 178 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Frankenberger, Timothy R
Farming Systems Support Project
Publisher: FSSP
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1985
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Liberia -- Grand Gedeh County   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Liberia -- Nimba County   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Liberia -- Bong County   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Timothy R. Frankenberger et al.
General Note: Supported by the Farming Systems Support Project, University of Florida with cooperation from : the University of Kentucky, USAID/Monrovia, and the Central Agricultural Research Institute, Suakoko, Liberia.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00054823
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000562159
oclc - 14208881
notis - ACY8138

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Executive summary
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Acknowledgement
        Page viii
        Page ix
    Table of Contents
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    List of Maps
        Page xv
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Methodology
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
    General farming systems characteristics
        Page 9
        Access to land-fallow rotation system
            Page 9
    Farming systems characteristics in Grand Gedeh
        Page 63
        Access to land
            Page 63
        Upland rice
            Page 63
    Farming systems characteristics in Nimba County
        Page 70
        Access to land
            Page 70
        Upland rice
            Page 70
        Content of the report
            Page 8
    Farming systems characteristics in Bong County
        Page 76
        Access to land
            Page 76
        Upland rice
            Page 76
        General labor patterns
            Page 11
        Cassava
            Page 64
        Cassava
            Page 71
    Summary of county specific farming systems characteristics
        Page 81
        Grand gedeh
            Page 81
        Cassava
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
        Livestock
            Page 66
        Swamp rice
            Page 72
        Cassava
            Page 77
        Swamp rice
            Page 77
        Nimba and Bong
            Page 82
            Page 83
    Constraints, areas of investigation and recommendations
        Page 84
        Access to land
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
        Other major field crops
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
        Livestock
            Page 74
        Other sources of income
            Page 74
        Marketing in Nimba County
            Page 74
        Credit in Nimba County
            Page 74
        Livestock
            Page 79
        Marketing in Bong County
            Page 79
        Other sources of income
            Page 79
        Credit in Bong County
            Page 79
        Other field crops
            Page 78
        Tree crops
            Page 78
        Crop specific constraints and areas of investigation
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
        Livestock
            Page 46
            Page 47
        Food consumption
            Page 80
        Government interventions in Bong County
            Page 80
        Animals (goats, sheeps, pigs, cattle, chickens)
            Page 104
        Other field crops
            Page 73
        Tree crops
            Page 73
        Other sources of income
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
        Food consumption
            Page 75
        Government intervention in Nimba County
            Page 75
        Food comsumption
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
        Food consumption
            Page 68
        Government intervention in Grand Gedeh County
            Page 68
            Page 69
        Swamp rice
            Page 65
        Other field crops
            Page 65
        Tree crops
            Page 65
        Marketing in Grand Gedeh County
            Page 67
        Other sources of income
            Page 67
        Credit in Grand Gedeh County
            Page 67
        Spatial arrangements of farmer's fields
            Page 10
        Upland rice
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
        Tree crops
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
        Credit
            Page 55
        Swamp rice cultivation (general)
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
        Marketing
            Page 105
        Marketing
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
        Food consumption
            Page 106
            Page 107
        Community (communal) farms
            Page 60
        Government intervention
            Page 60
        Project activities
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
    Appendices
        Page 108
        General and county specific farming systems hypotheses
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
        Summary of results for farming systems reconnaissance: survey for Grand Gedeh County
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
        Summary of results for farming systems reconnaissance: survey for Nimba County
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
        Summary of results for farming systems reconnaissance: survey for Bong County
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
        Timing of cropping activities for Grand Gedeh
            Page 153
        Timing of cropping activities for Nimba County
            Page 154
        Timing of cropping activities for Bong County
            Page 155
        Crop dalendar: months of main farming activity, by county, Liberia
            Page 156
        Rice varieties by county
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
        Cassava varieties by county
            Page 164
            Page 165
        Primary sources consulted
            Page 166
            Page 167
        List of people and institutions contacted
            Page 168
            Page 169
        List of acronyms
            Page 170
        Topics of inquiry for farming systems reconnaissance survey for Grand Gedeb, Nimba and Bong Counties
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
Full Text
22z 0.7


Farming Systems Support Project


International Programs
Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611


Office of Agriculture and
Office of Multisectoral Development
Bureau for Science and Technology
Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C. 20523













FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH IN THREE COUNTIES

IN LIBERIA:



A RECONNAISSANCE SURVEY IN GRAND GEDEH,

NIMBA, AND BONG COUNTIES










By
Timothy R. Frankenberger
John A. Lichte
Arthur S. Gedeo
John Kpakolo Jallah
Maran J. Sherman




April 1985









Supported by the Farming Systems Support
Project, University of Florida, with
Cooperation from: the University of Kentucky,
USAID/Monrovia, and the Central Agricultural
Research Institute, Suakoko, Liberia











EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A farming systems reconnaissance survey was conducted in Grand
Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong counties in Liberia. The research team
consisted of an anthropologist, two agricultural economists, a
soil scientist, and a tree crop researcher. The survey was
conducted over a three week period in 19 villages. One hundred
and fourteen farm families were interviewed. A detailed topical
outline was used to guide interviews, and each interview was
conducted on the farm family's field with both the husband and
wife present. The major findings of this study are presented
below.
Two basic farming systems are found in the three counties
surveyed. The key factors which distinguish the systems are the
length of fallow, the rice planting method, and the degree of
diversity. The rice-cassava intercrop pattern is also important
in distinguishing sub-system differences in Bong and Nimba.


Grand Gedeh Farming System

Grand Gedeh farmers typically make their upland fields in high
bush which has been in fallow for up to 20 years or more. The
presence of numerous large trees makes tree felling the most
difficult and constraining field preparation activity.
Groundhogs, weeds, and birds are less of a problem than where the
fallow period is normally shorter. Rice is planted using the
dibble method and no soil tillage is performed. If a reasonable
burn is achieved, farmers do not attempt to clear the field of
remaining tree trunks and debris.
Cassava is planted on a portion of the rice field about one
month after the rice is planted. This delay prevents cassava from
shading the rice and minimizes competition. Bananas and plantain
are intercropped with the rice on a different portion of field. A
number of tubers and other vegetables are intercropped with the
rice throughout the entire field. These include: cocoyams. yams,
sweet potatoes, corn, okra, peppers, bitterball, pumpkin, squash,
plato, watergreens, tomatoes, and sesame.
Both early and late maturing rice varieties are usually
planted. The early variety is planted first so that rice
harvesting can begin as early as July or August.
Farmers tend not to build fences to protect their rice from
groundhogs. Instead, they try to increase the size of their
field and/or locate their field far from areas of secondary bush
where groundhogs are likely to be numerous.
In high bush, the dense shade of the mature forest limits the
presence of weeds. With little weed seed in the soil to
germinate, rice gets a head start and dominates weed competition.
Farmers generally do not expect to weed their high bush fields.
Few farmers have either traditional or improved swamp rice
farms. A portion of the upland rice field often descends into a
swampy area. However, the swamp is considered part of the upland











rice field and is cultivated in the same manner.
Women often plant a short maturing rice and intercrops in a
small "hungry farm" separate from the main field. It is usually
placed on a portion of the previous year's rice field or some
other area of secondary bush. This field assures the family's
rice needs until the main field is ready for harvest. The
remaining produce of the "hungry farm" is used to meet the
personal needs of the woman.
The reciprocal kuu system is not generally practiced in Grand
Gedeh villages and farmers rely more on family labor. Although
some labor is hired to help with many farming activities, hired
labor is more expensive and less frequently employed than in the
other counties surveyed.
Cocoa and coffee are the dominant cash crops in Grand Gedeh.
In addition, rice, cassava, and minor crops are sometimes sold.
The sale of wild meat and produce collected from the forest (e.g.
wild palm oil fruit) are other important sources of income.
Farmers own and produce few animals even though they are
important in meeting social obligations and as a source of ready
cash for emergencies.



Nimba and Bong

Many of the characteristics of the farming system in Nimba and
Bong Counties are similar. Both counties are experiencing some
degree of land pressure, which has shortened fallow periods, and
compels farmers to make their farms on secondary bush. In Nimba,
this pressure comes from a high population density, while in
Bong, it comes from the presence of concessions and from the
private ownership of large estates. Problems closely associated
with farming secondary bush, such as groundhogs, weeds, and rice
birds, have an important impact on the characteristics of this
farming system.
Farms appear to be slightly larger than in Grand Gedeh,
perhaps due to some combination of the following factors: 1)
felling trees is less of a constraint; 2) when large kuus do the
brushing, more land may be cleared than would be otherwise by
family labor; 3) poor fertility and pests associated with
secondary bush may oblige families to farm more extensively to
meet food requirements; 4) the absence of "hungry farms" may both
permit and oblige the cultivation of a larger main upland rice
field.
Few large trees are present, so the major land preparation
activity is brushing rather than felling trees. More effort is
also devoted to clearing small tree trunks and debris after
burning so that it will be easier to hoe the field. Hoeing (or
scratching) the field does not begin until 2 to 8 weeks after
burning in order to give weed seed in the soil a chance to
germinate. Broadcast planting is done at the same time as the
scratching in order that this single hoeing might both eliminate








iii

the weeds and cover the seeds. After hoeing, the weeds are
removed from the soil and piled so they will not have a chance to
grow back. A second weeding often seems to be necessary, at least
in years of high rainfall. This may also be related to the
severely reduced fallow period.
In Nimba, cassava is planted at low density at the same time
as the rice. It is typically intercropped on the entire rice
field, eliminating bananas and plantain as an important rice
intercrop. If the cassava gets too tall relative to the rice, the
lower branches and leaves are stripped to reduce shading. In
Bong, the cassava density is perhaps even lower than in Nimba and
it is planted 2 to 4 weeks before the rice. It is often planted
on only a portion of the rice field and stripping the cassava
leaves to prevent shading is less frequently practiced. Cassava,
in Nimba seems to have a more important role in both production
and consumption than in the other two counties.
In Bong, some of the corn is planted with cassava before the
rice is planted. Some of the vegetable intercrops tend to be
planted after the rice in both counties.
Early and late maturing rice varieties are usually planted,
but the pattern is not consistent. Where birds are a serious
problem, the late maturing varieties tend to be planted first.
The fear is that an early maturing field will be decimated by the
birds, but the attack will be spread across more fields later in
the season. This strategy may lengthen the "hungry season" by
delaying the new harvest by 2 to 3 months.
Farmers regularly build fences in Bong and Nimba to protect
rice from groundhogs. This will occupy the men for a month or
more while women finish the planting and weed. Bird-watching is
also common for a week after planting and for about a month while
the rice is heading.
A few farmers have swamp rice fields. Women are more often
responsible for the traditional swamp rice fields, but- men tend
to be more involved in the improved rice fields sponsored by
projects. "Hungry farms" are not common, but in some cases the
swamp rice fields will take their place as well as provide a
source of income for personal needs.
The diversity of farm enterprises is one of the biggest
differences between the farming system in these two counties and
that of Grand Gedeh. Farmers are often involved in both cocoa
and coffee and perhaps sugar cane or groundnuts, as well as in
their upland field and occasionally swamp rice. Rubber, citrus,
or cultivated oil palm may also be present. Farmers are also
more likely to be involved in some form of off-farm employment.
These numerous activities in any one family tend to strain family
labor resources and management capabilities. For these reasons,
hiring labor and hiring kuus as well as using reciprocal kuus are
very prevalent in these two counties. Farmers in Nimba often
raise pigs with the intention of using them to feed kuus. The use
of hired labor is further encouraged by lower day wages than
those prevalent in Grand Gedeh.











CONSTRAINTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The survey has identified a number of general and crop
specific constraints which are impinging upon the existing
farming systems. The major constraints are summarized below along
with possible strategies to deal with each type of constraint.


I. General Constraints
A) Access to land
1) Identify the most appropriate crop rotation system for
specific areas.
2) Investigate how tree crops can be combined with food
crops in the same field.
3) Emphasize improved swamp rice farming in areas which
are experiencing severe land pressure.
4) Investigate the possibility of integrating chemical
inputs into crop rotation systems and improved swamp
rice farming.

B) Access to labor
1) Projects should refrain from introducing too many
interventions to a given farmer at one time.
2) Consider use of intercropping and cover-cropping
strategies to reduce labor requirements.
3) Investigate the economics of existing mechanical
interventions and new types of appropriate
technologies.

C) Access to capital
1) Consider introducing alternative cash crops into the
system.
2) Improve pricing policies, processing techniques, and
marketing channels for existing cash crops.
3) Explore replication of successful village credit
associations.


II. Upland Rice Constraints
A) Pests and diseases
1) Investigate alternative fencing techniques and/or
chemical repellants and poisons as deterrents to
groundhogs.
2) Study the life cycle and breeding habits of
groundhogs.
3) Incorporate bird resistant traits into improved rice
varieties.
4) Consider the adverse consequences of using poisons to
control birds and rats.
5) Investigate alternative means for controlling
termites.
6) Continue research on designing inexpensive rice











kitchens that control rats.
7) Continue efforts of selecting for disease resistant
rice varieties.
8) Encourage project and extension personnel to educate
farmers on how to recognize rice diseases and how to
deal with these when they are identified.

B) Weeds
1) Initiate studies on the effectiveness and costs of
using herbicides.

C) Soil fertility
1) Promote crop rotation systems which integrate
nitrogen-fixing legumes as rotation crops or
intercrops.
2) Continue experiments on minimum tillage practices and
other erosion control measures.
3) Investigate the use of composts, manures, and other
indigenous materials like rock phosphate for restoring
fertility.
4) Consider managed fallow using legumes as a substitute
for natural fallow.

D) Other areas of investigation for rice
I) Compare dibbling and scratching methods of planting to
determine effect on plant density, weed population,
soil degradation, labor demand, ease of intercropping,
and yield.
2) Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of
intercropping other crops with rice.
3) Screen and compare local rice varieties with
recommended varieties through on-farm trials.


III. Cassava Constraints
A) Pests and diseases
1) Continue multi-locational trials of disease resistant
varieties through on-farm trials.
2) Encourage project and extension personnel to educate
farmers on how to recognize cassava diseases and what
to do about them.

B) Other areas of investigation for cassava
1) Study the effects of different spacing and timing
strategies of planting cassava in relation to rice.
2) Determine the effects of striping the leaves and
lower branches of young cassava plants.
3) Identify potential crops that can be intercropped
with cassava which could serve as cover-crops.











IV. Swamp Rice Constraints
A) Labor availability
1) Research should focus on the economics of combining
improved swamp rice with upland rice and other farming
activities.
2) Identify cost-effective, labor-saving techniques to
reduce labor demands of swamp farming.
3) Encourage farmers to delay swamp-farming activities
until upland activities are completed.
4) Study areas where improved swamp rice farming has been
successfully adopted.

B) Other areas of investigation for swamp rice
1) Consider the use of nitrogen fixing aquatic plants.
2) Investigate the effects of cutting back rice to deal
with lodging.


V. Cocoa and Coffee Constraints
A) Pests and diseases
1) Encourage farmers to follow practices which help
control stem borers such as pruning, destroying
infested branches, and timely underbrushing.
2) Identify potential hosts which may harbor stem borers.
3) Investigate the economic feasibility of using
insecticides for prevention and/or treatment of
infested trees.
4) Consider the ecological effects of eliminating red ants
before proposing control methods.
5) Explore alternative means of preventing wild animals
from eating farmers' cocoa.
6) Identify or develop black pod resistant varieties of
cocoa and/or identify other means to control the
fungus.

B) Underbrushing
1) Explore the possibility of using cover-crops for cocoa
and coffee. These could possibly be food crops.

C) Site selection
1) Determine the suitability of different soil types for
cocoa and coffee.

D) Other areas of investigation for cocoa and coffee
1) Research should determine the appropriate spacing for
cocoa and coffee. Explore the economic trade-offs
between labor expenditure and potential yield loss when
considering spacing.









vii


VI. Other Tree Crop Constraints
A) Seasonality
1) Continue to identify possible varieties of fruits
which bear year round or at different times of the
year to deal with the problem of seasonality.


VII. Animal Constraints
A) Diseases
1) Encourage projects and extension services to provide
better veterinary services to diagnose and treat
infected animals.
2) Determine the extent to which identified diseases
have spread.

B) Other areas of investigation for animals
1) Research should focus on why traditional farmers are
not investing more in animals.


VIII. Marketing Constraints
A) Access to market information
1) Develop a low cost method for disseminating
marketing information, i.e., radio broadcasts in
local languages.

B) Grading of cocoa and coffee
1) Projects and extension services should initiate
efforts to train farmers how to grade their own
cocoa and coffee.
2) Instruct farmers as to the proper processing
techniques for improving the grades of cocoa and
coffee.


IX. Food Consumption Constraints
A) Areas of investigation for consumption
1) Conduct studies of food preferences, preparation
techniques, and food taboos to determine acceptability
of proposed interventions.
2) Varietal work on any crop should consider taste
preferences.
3) Encourage the introduction of other beans and pulses
into the farming systems such as mung beans and
cowpeas.
4) Conduct limited consumption surveys to determine the
nutritional effects of seasonal shortages of food
during peak labor periods. This information can guide
crop choices for intervention.









viii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the
staff at the Central Agricultural Research Institute as well as
the LSU project staff for their contributions and assistance they
provided us while carrying out our research. Special thanks are
due to Mr. Andrew Paye, Director of CARI; Dr. Harold Young, LSU
Team Leader; Dr. Charles Mulbah, Head of Land and Water Resources
Department at CARI; Dr. Joe Subah, Research Coordinator of CARI;
and Mr. Sam Hooke, Administrative Officer of CARI. They provided
the staff, vehicle, and backup support which enabled this mission
to accomplish its task. We are grateful for their support.
We also wish to thank the staff at the AID Mission in
Monrovia. We are grateful for the help and support provided by
Dr. John Flynn, Mr. Myron Smith, Mr. Mark Smith, and Ms. Lois
Richards. John Flynn was especially instrumental in coordinating
and organizing the initial efforts of this study. John provided
the team with valuable background information on the study area,
introduced us to important contacts, and arranged the meetings
between the CARI staff and the research team. To John and the
rest of the AID staff, we extend our gratitude.
A third group of individuals we are grateful to are the
various government officials and project staff in the counties we
worked in who aided us in our endeavors. Their contributions were
very important to this study. They provided us with background
information on the county as well as helped us select villages
for our survey. Many of their staff also accompanied us as
translators and/or participated in the survey. Special thanks
are extended to Mr. Alonzo N. Munyeneh, Station Manager, Saye-
Dube Sub-Research Station as well as the Regional Agricultural
Office in Grand Gedeh County. Alonzo not only contributed his
time and energy by participating in the survey, he also opened
his home to the research team during the course of the study. To
him and his wife we are extremely grateful. We also wish to thank
Dr. Heiko Dekena, Mr. Karl Kirsch, Mr. Mah, and the Extension
Personnel of NCRDP for their support and assistance. In addition
to helping select villages and assisting us with their staff,
they provided us with excellent lodging, warm hospitality, and an
opportunity to exchange ideas. To them we express our gratitude.
Thanks are also due to Jerry Mason and his field staff of BCADP.
Jerry was instrumental in coordinating our survey efforts in
Bong. To him and his staff we are grateful.
Thanks should also be extended to U.S.AID, Washington; the
Farming Systems Support Project at Florida; and the University of
Kentucky for providing cooperative support for this project. We
are especially grateful to Ms. Gloria Steele, U.S.AID,
Washington; Dr. Susan Poats, University of Florida; Mr. Wendell
Morse and Ms Jo Albert, U.S.AID, Washington; and Dr. Herbert
Massey, University of Kentucky for their efforts in initiating
this project.
Finally, we are sincerely grateful to all the Liberian farmers
who participated in this survey. The patience and kindness they








ix

showed us in the face of persistent questioning was truly
noteworthy. We are indebted to them for their hospitality. We
hope that someday the outcomes of our research efforts will repay
this kindness.











TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Introduction . . . . ... .. . 1
A. Methodology . . . .... ..... 1
B. Content of Report . . . . 8

II. General Farming Sysytems Characteristics . . 9
A. Access to Land-Fallow Rotation System . . 9
B. Spatial Arrangements of Farmers' Fields ...... 10
C. General Labor Patterns . . ... 11
C.1 Sources of Labor . . .... .... 12
D. Upland Rice . . . . ... .. .12
D.1 Upland Rice: High Bush Compared to Secondary Bush 12
Strategies for Use of High vs. Secondary Bush 13
Site Selection . . . ... 13
Land Preparation . . . ... 14
Importance of Weeding . . ... 14
Farm Size . . . . . 15
Planting Methods . . . .... 15
Vareities Grown and Time of Planting . .. .17
Intercropping Strategies . . ... 18
Harvest and Post Harvest Methods . ... 19
Pests and Diseases . . . ... 20
Soil Fertility Considerations . ... 21
Hungry Farms . . . ... 22
E. Cassava . ... . . .. .22
E.1 Cassava Intercropped with Rice . ... 23
Cassava Planted After the Rice . ... 23
Planting Cassava with the Rice .... ..... 23
Cassava Before Rice . . .... 23
Rice-Cassava Double-Cropping . . 24
E.2 Separate Cassava Fields . . . 24
E.3 Cassava Varieties . . . ... 24
E.4 Number of Cuttings . . . ... 25
E.5 Pests and Diseases ............. 25
E.6 Other Crops Intercropped with Cassava .. .. ... .26
F. Swamp Rice Cultivation (General) . . ... 26
F.1 Traditional Swamp Rice . . ... 26
Site Selection .. .. .. .. .. .. ... 26
Methods of Cultivation . . . .27
Varieties Grown . . . ... 27
Post-Planting, Harvest and Post Harvest Methods 27
F.2 Improved Swamp Rice . . . ... .28
Location of Improved Swamps . . ... 29
Varieties Grown . . . ... 29
Methods of Cultivation . . ... 29










G. Other Major Field Crops . . . .. 31
G.1 Sugar Cane . . . . 31
Site Selection . . . . 31
Land Preparation and Methods of Cultivation 31
Varieties Grown . . . . 32
Harvesting and Processing Techniques . .. 32
Sugar Cane Growing Strategies . . .. 33
G.2 Groundnuts . . . . 33
Site Selection .. . . 33
Land Preparation and Methods of Cultivation 34
H. Tree Crops . . . . .. .... 34
H.1 Cocoa . . . . . .. 35
Years of Experience . . . 35
Sources of Planting Material . . .. 35
Site Selection . . . . 35
Methods of Cultivation . . .. 36
Pests and Diseases . . . .. 39
H.2 Coffee . . . . . 40
Years of Experience . . . .. 40
Sources of Planting Material . . .. 40
Site Selection . . . .. 41
Methods of Cultivation ... . . 41
Diseases and Pests . . . .. 43
H.3 Other Tree Crops . . . .. 43
Banana and Plantain . . . .. 43
Citrus . . . . ... 44
Oil Palm . . . .... 44
Rubber . . . . . 45
I. Livestock ......... .. ............ 46
I.1 General Husbandry Patterns . . .. 46
1.2 Goats . . . . . 47
1.3 Sheep . . .... .. . .47
1.4 Pigs . . . .... . 47
1.5 Cattle . . . . ... .. 48
1.6 Poultry . . . .... . 48
J. Marketing . . . . ... 48
J.1 Marketing Channels . . .... 48
J.2 Marketing of Cocoa and Coffee . . .. 49
J.3 Marketing of Rice . . . .... 51
J.4 Marketing of Cassava . . .... 51
J.5 Sugar Cane (Cane Juice) . . .... 51
J.6 Other Crops . . . . ... 52
K. Other Sources of Income . . . 52
K.1 Off Farm Employment . . . ... .53
K.2 Farm Laborers . . . ... .53
K.3 Arts and Crafts . . .. ..... .54
K.4 Wild Game . . . . . 54
K.5 Palm Wine . . . . .. 54
K.6 Fishing . . . ..... .. . 54
K.7 Money Sent From Relatives ............ 54











L. Credit . . . ..... .... 55
L.1 Credit from Government Organizations . 56
M. Food Consumption . . . ... .56
M.1 Food Preferences . . . .. 56
M.2 Seasonality . . . ... 56
M.3 Sources of Meat . . .... 57
M.4 Dietary Patterns . . .... 57
M.5 Food Taboos ............... 58
M.6 Other Culturally Prescribed Foods .... .58
M.7 Nutritional Implications of Current Dietary
Patterns . . . .. .. .59
N. Community (Communal) Farms . . ... 60
0. Government Interventions . . .... 60
0.1 Project Activities ... .. ..... 60
0.2 Constraints Imposed on Farmers by Project
Activities . . . . 61

III. Farming Systems Characteristics in Grand Gedeh .. 63
A. Access to Land . . . . ... .63
B. Upland Rice . . . .... 63
C. Cassava . . . ... . 64
D. Swamp Rice . . . .. .. .65
E. Other Field Crops . . . ... 65
F. Tree Crops . . . . ... .. .65
G. Livestock . . . . ... .. 66
H..Marketing in Grand Gedeh County . ... 67
I. Other Sources of Income . . . 67
J. Credit in Grand Gedeh County . . ... 67
K. Food Consumption . . . .... 68
L. Government Interventions in Grand Gedeh County 68

IV. Farming Systems Characteristics in Nimba County .. 70
A. Access to Land . . . . ... 70
B. Upland Rice . . . .... 70
C. Cassava . . . . ... . 71
D. Swamp Rice . . . . ... .. 72
E. Other Field Crops . . . ... .73
F. Tree Crops . . . . ... .. 73
G. Livestock . . . . ... . 74
H. Other Sources of Income . . . 74
I. Marketing in Nimba County . . . 74
J. Credit in Nimba County . . . 74
K. Food Consumption . . . .... 75
L. Government Interventions in Nimba County . .. .75

V. Farming Systems Characteristics in Bong County .... .76
A. Access to Land ..... . . ..... .76
B. Upland Rice . . . . .. .... 76
C. Cassava . . . . ... .. . 77
D. Swamp Rice . . . . ... .77
E. Other Field Crops . . . ... 78








xiii


F. Tree Crops . . . ... .. . 78
G. Livestock . . . . ... 79
H. Marketing in Bong County . . . ... .79
I. Other Sources of Income . . . ... 79
J. Credit in Bong County . . . ... 79
K. Food Consumption ..... .. . . . .80
L. Government Interventions in Bong County . ... 80

VI. Summary of County Specific Farming Systems Characteristics 81
I. Grand Gedeh . . . . ... .. 81
II. Nimba and Bong . . . .... 82

VII. Constraints, Areas of Investigation and Recommendations 84
I. General Production Constraints . . . 84
A. Access to Land . . . ... 84
B. Access to Labor . . . ... .86
C. Access to Capital . . . ... 87

II. Crop Specific Constraints and Areas of Investigation 88
A. Upland Rice . . . .... .88
1. Pests and Diseases . . . ... 88
2. Weeding . . . .... 92
3. Soil Fertility . . .......... 93
4. Other Areas of Investigation for Upland Rice 93
B. Cassava . .. ..... .. . ... 94
1. Pests and Diseases . . . ... .94
2. Other Areas of Investigation for Cassava . 95
C. Swamp Rice . . . . 96
1. Labor Availability . . . ... 96
2. Other Constraints to Improved Swamp Rice
Farming . . . .... 97
3. Other Areas of Investigation for Swamp Rice .. 98
D. Tree Crops . . . .... 99
1. Cocoa and Coffee . . . .... 99
2. Other Tree Crops . . . ... 103
E. Other Field Crops . . . ... 104
1. Sugar Cane . . . ... 104
2. Peanuts . . . .... .104

III. Animals (Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, Chickens) 104
A. Diseases . . . . . 104
B. Other Areas of Investigation for Animals . 105

IV. Marketing . . . .. .. .. 105
A. Access to Markets . . . ... 105
B. Access to Market Information . . .. 105
C. Grading of Cocoa and Coffee . .... 106
D. Lack of Processing Facilities for Citrus .... .106











V. Food Consumption . . . . . 106
A. Areas of Investigation for Food Consumption .. 106
1. Food Preferences, Preparation Techniques and Food
Taboos . . . .. ... 106
2. Beans and Pulses ...... . . 107
3. Seasonal Food Shortages ...... . 107

Appendices:
A. General and County Specific Farming Systems Hypotheses .109
B. Summary of Results for Farming Systems Reconnaissance
Survey for Grand Gedeh County . .... . 127
C. Summary of Res.ults for Farming Systems Reconnaissance
Survey for Nimba County . . . . 136
D. Summary of Results for Farming Systems Reconnaissance
Survey for Bong County . . . . 145
E. Timing of Cropping Activities for Grand Gedeh . .. 153
F. Timing of Cropping Activities for Nimba County . 154
G. Timing of Cropping Activities for Bong County . .. 155
H. Crop Calendar: Months of Main Farming Activity, by County,
Liberia . . . . . . 156
I. Rice Varieties by County . . . . 157
J. Cassava Varieties by County . . . 164
K. Primary Sources Consulted . . . . 166
L. List of People and Institutions Contacted . .. 168
M. List of Acronyms . ... . . ... 170
N. Topics of Inquiry for Farming Systems Reconnaissance
Survey for Grand Gedeh, Nimba and Bong Counties .... .171






XV


LIST OF MAPS


Map 1 Location of Counties in Liberia . .. . 2

Map 2 Location of Villages Surveyed in Grand Gedeh County .. 4

Map 3 Location of Villages Surveyed in Nimba County . 6

Map 4 Location of Villages Surveyed in Bong County . 7










I. INTRODUCTION

This research report presents the findings of a farming
systems reconnaissance survey that was conducted in Liberia in
Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong Counties (see Map 1). The survey was
conducted over a three week period in July, 1984, in 19 villages.
One hundred and fourteen farm families were interviewed. The
study was supported by the U.S. Agency for International
Development Farming Systems Support Project, University of
Florida with cooperation from the University of Kentucky; the
U.S. AID Mission, Monrovia; and the Central Agricultural Research
Institute (CARI), Suakoko, Liberia. The primary objective of this
study was to provide information on the rice-based farming
systems that are found in Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong Counties
to help establish research priorities at CARI. In addition to
providing baseline data on cropping patterns, animal husbandry.
off-farm economic activities, marketing and consumption, the
study helps identify some of the key constraints facing farmers
within these counties. Although this information may need to be
verified through formal surveys and on-farm testing, it serves as
a starting point for orienting research to the needs of farmers.



A. Methodology:

To facilitate data collection on the various factors which
make up a farming system, a multi-disciplinary team was used. The
team members included: Timothy R. Frankenberger (anthropologist);
John A. Lichte (agricultural economist); Arthur S. Gedeo
(agricultural economist); John Kpakolo Jallah (soil scientist);
and Maran J. Sherman (tree crop researcher). The first two
researchers mentioned were Americans while the other three were
Liberians from CARI.
To help guide interviews, the team constructed a detailed
topical outline prior to going to the field (see Appendix N). A
structured interview format was not employed to avoid collecting
biased information. In order to develop a preliminary
understanding of how farmers express themselves on a variety of
issues, an open ended topical list was used. The topics included
in this outline were obtained from three major sources. First,
secondary data sources were reviewed to obtain a list of
important variables which were identified in past studies.
Second, each department head at CARI or one of their
representatives was consulted to identify the various kinds of
information needed that would be directly relevant to ongoing
research at the station. Third, the team members drew upon their
own knowledge and past research experience in devising topics.
Once the team reached total agreement on the items included in
the list, the survey was initiated.
As stated earlier, the study focused on three counties. Grand
Gedeh County was the first county studied. This county was










I. INTRODUCTION

This research report presents the findings of a farming
systems reconnaissance survey that was conducted in Liberia in
Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong Counties (see Map 1). The survey was
conducted over a three week period in July, 1984, in 19 villages.
One hundred and fourteen farm families were interviewed. The
study was supported by the U.S. Agency for International
Development Farming Systems Support Project, University of
Florida with cooperation from the University of Kentucky; the
U.S. AID Mission, Monrovia; and the Central Agricultural Research
Institute (CARI), Suakoko, Liberia. The primary objective of this
study was to provide information on the rice-based farming
systems that are found in Grand Gedeh, Nimba, and Bong Counties
to help establish research priorities at CARI. In addition to
providing baseline data on cropping patterns, animal husbandry.
off-farm economic activities, marketing and consumption, the
study helps identify some of the key constraints facing farmers
within these counties. Although this information may need to be
verified through formal surveys and on-farm testing, it serves as
a starting point for orienting research to the needs of farmers.



A. Methodology:

To facilitate data collection on the various factors which
make up a farming system, a multi-disciplinary team was used. The
team members included: Timothy R. Frankenberger (anthropologist);
John A. Lichte (agricultural economist); Arthur S. Gedeo
(agricultural economist); John Kpakolo Jallah (soil scientist);
and Maran J. Sherman (tree crop researcher). The first two
researchers mentioned were Americans while the other three were
Liberians from CARI.
To help guide interviews, the team constructed a detailed
topical outline prior to going to the field (see Appendix N). A
structured interview format was not employed to avoid collecting
biased information. In order to develop a preliminary
understanding of how farmers express themselves on a variety of
issues, an open ended topical list was used. The topics included
in this outline were obtained from three major sources. First,
secondary data sources were reviewed to obtain a list of
important variables which were identified in past studies.
Second, each department head at CARI or one of their
representatives was consulted to identify the various kinds of
information needed that would be directly relevant to ongoing
research at the station. Third, the team members drew upon their
own knowledge and past research experience in devising topics.
Once the team reached total agreement on the items included in
the list, the survey was initiated.
As stated earlier, the study focused on three counties. Grand
Gedeh County was the first county studied. This county was








Map 1

Location of Counties in Liberia


0 '"S 5O 75 100 KILOMETRES
I I I I I

0 as 0 75 100 MILS
I 1 I I
SCALE 1:3000000

35










selected because little information existed on the region and
CARI was planning on opening a sub-station there at Saye-Dube.
Prior to initiating any village surveys, meetings were held with
county extension personnel for a briefing on the county and to
enlist their aid in selecting villages for the survey. Factors
taken into account in village selection included location, size,
access to roads, and institutional complexity. In addition,
attempts were made to have a village representing each of the
sub-tribes in the vicinity. The seven villages selected were
geographically distributed around Zwedru and the Saye-Dube Sub-
Station (see Map 2). Each village was located within a 40 mile
radius of Zwedru to ensure that they were reasonably accessible
to the Sub-Station for future on-farm experiments.
Once the villages were selected, the team visited one village
each day to conduct interviews with farm families. Upon arrival
in a particular village, the team would first meet with the
village chief and other villagers present to explain their
mission and why so many questions would be asked. General
inquiries were directed to the group assembled concerning village
infrastructure, land tenure, community farming, sources of
credit, project intervention, marketing, and typical labor
arrangements. Aftef these initial inquiries, the team split up
into three groups. Each group was accompanied by a translator2or
one of the team members who understood the local language. A
farm family with a field within a 40 minute walk of the village
was then selected by each group to be interviewed. Interviews
were conducted in the fields away from the village so that team
members could see the fields they were inquiring about and to
prevent other farmers from biasing the farmers' responses. In
most cases, both the husband and wife were present for the
interview. The team felt it was necessary to get both of their
inputs because women were responsible for a considerable amount
of the labor performed on the rice fields. Usually each group
could do two complete interviews in a day. In some cases, it was
only possible to do partial interviews and a group could
interview more farmers in a day.
Team members did not work in the same group every day. Thus
the groups did not remain constant. This was done to give every
team member an opportunity to work with and learn from the other
team members. This greatly facilitated an exchange of ideas and
helped establish better communication between team members.
After interviews were completed for selected villages in Grand
Gedeh, the team members got together and formulated hypotheses
about the farming system which characterized that region (see
Appendix A). This procedure helped summarize the important



Alonzo Munyeneh, Manager of the Saye-Dube Research Sub-Station,
participated in the study and joined the team for the duration
2of the Grand Gedeh survey.
Two of these translators were local extension agents.








Map 2

Location of Villages Surveyed in Grand Gedeh County


Village Names:

1. Gaye Town

2. Jarwodee

3. Toyelabli

4. Bawaydi

5. Toozon

6. Gbolue

7. Gleplay








5

attributes of the farming system and provided a basis for
comparison when survey work started in the other two counties.
Upon completion of the work in Grand Gedeh, survey work was
initiated in Nimba county. The study concentrated in the Saclepea
area in order to establish collaborative links with the Nimba
County Rural Development Project (NCRDP). This cooperation was
considered important because NCRDP had been cited as a good model
for farmer oriented development efforts. It was felt that the
information provided by the study could be of use to NCRDP as
well as CARI, and that future collaboration could be beneficial
to both organizations. With the help of the NCRDP staff, an
initial selection of villages was made. Selection criteria were
similar to those used in Grand Gedeh. This selection was somewhat
restricted since many of the roads were impassable due to rain.
This list of villages was later modified to include some non-
project villages because the initial selection strongly
emphasized project villages. Interviews were conducted with
farmers in seven villages in total (see Map 3). NCRDP extension
staff usually accompanied the team to each of the villages
surveyed.
The survey procedures followed in Nimba were similar to those
followed in Grand Gedeh. Following the survey, hypotheses were
also formulated about the farming system which characterized
Nimba County (see Appendix A).
The last county surveyed was Bong. Bong was a logical choice
for this study since CARI was located in this county. If on-farm
experiments are to be carried out in villages located within a
reasonable distance of the experiment station, then information
is needed on the existing farming systems in the area. To
facilitate data collection efforts, collaborative links were also
established with the Bong County Agricultural Development Project
(BCADP). As was the case in Nimba County, it was hoped that such
links between BCADP and CARI could be beneficial to both
organizations in future development efforts. The BCADP staff gave
the team the names of extension officers in the different regions
of the county to contact. These extension officers helped the
team identify a variety of villages including some which had
relatively little project influence. Again village selection
criteria were similar to those used in Grand Gedeh and Nimba.
Interviews were conducted in five villages in Bong (see Map 4).
In some cases, the BCADP extension staff accompanied the team to
the villages. Similar survey procedures were followed in Bong as
in the other two counties. Likewise, hypotheses characterizing
the farming system found in Bong County were also formulated
after the completion of the survey (see Appendix A).
Once the survey was completed, hypotheses were generated which
applied to the farming systems found in all three counties.
Following these formulations, a series of possible
recommendations were derived which could help alleviate some of
the constraints which were identified in the survey. After these
tasks were completed, the results of the study were written up.
Each team member was given responsibility for a certain section







Map 3

Location of Villages Surveyed in Nimba County


Village Names:

1. Boitain

2. Dohn

3. Zayglay

4. Boweh

5. Zehplay

6. Gwehrlay

7. Lampa







Map 4

Location of Villages Surveyed in Bong County


Village Names:

1. Gbarna

2. Seata

3. Santa

4. Kollieta

5. Janniepeleta










II. GENERAL FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS

A. Access to Land-Fallow Rotation System:

In the past, usufruct land tenure arrangements were the
predominant tenure patterns found throughout Liberia. Land
availability was not a constraint due to a low rural population-
to-land ratio. Presently, land access is a limiting factor in
areas of high population concentration and/or where concessions
and private estate ownership are prevalent. Land purchases and/or
land rental are not uncommon in such areas. All three tenure
arrangements are found in the study area.
In Grand Gedeh, usufruct arrangements predominate in all of
the villages surveyed. Land is not being purchased nor is land
actually being rented. Due to the low population densities
characterizing the county, a considerable proportion of the land
is still in high bush. Individuals gain rights to land by being
the first to clear high bush from an area. Anyone else wishing
to make a farm on this land must obtain the permission of the
original farmer.
When all land in the vicinity of a village has been farmed,
farmers will make farms farther away by seeking out high bush or
older secondary bush to clear. If these farms are far from the
village, satellite villages may be created. This pattern is
possible in Grand Gedeh because of the low population density and
availability of land.
In Nimba, the tenure situation is more complex. Many of the
villages surveyed in this county are located in an area of high
population concentration.
Land pressure seems considerable in such areas. In addition
to usufruct rights similar to Grand Gedeh, cases of land
purchases and land rentals are found. Besides individual land
purchases, sometimes a whole village bands together and purchases
the land they are farming. As for land rentals, two forms are
found. One is the more traditional quasi-rental pattern of giving
a portion of rice at harvest for the right to farm an area. The
second form is an actual cash payment of ten to twenty dollars
for one year's access.
One consequence of the high population density in Nimba has
been the removal of a considerable amount of the high bush in the
area. Presently, most of the land accessible to farmers is
secondary bush. In addition to this, land pressure in the area
has forced many farmers to shorten the fallowing period on their
land. Both the prevalence of secondary bush and the shorter
fallow period have had a significant impact on the farming system



The amount of rice given now for land access is much greater
than the traditional token. In the past, a wash pan or bucket
of rice may have sufficed. Presently, 2 bags of paddy rice is
not uncommon.










II. GENERAL FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS

A. Access to Land-Fallow Rotation System:

In the past, usufruct land tenure arrangements were the
predominant tenure patterns found throughout Liberia. Land
availability was not a constraint due to a low rural population-
to-land ratio. Presently, land access is a limiting factor in
areas of high population concentration and/or where concessions
and private estate ownership are prevalent. Land purchases and/or
land rental are not uncommon in such areas. All three tenure
arrangements are found in the study area.
In Grand Gedeh, usufruct arrangements predominate in all of
the villages surveyed. Land is not being purchased nor is land
actually being rented. Due to the low population densities
characterizing the county, a considerable proportion of the land
is still in high bush. Individuals gain rights to land by being
the first to clear high bush from an area. Anyone else wishing
to make a farm on this land must obtain the permission of the
original farmer.
When all land in the vicinity of a village has been farmed,
farmers will make farms farther away by seeking out high bush or
older secondary bush to clear. If these farms are far from the
village, satellite villages may be created. This pattern is
possible in Grand Gedeh because of the low population density and
availability of land.
In Nimba, the tenure situation is more complex. Many of the
villages surveyed in this county are located in an area of high
population concentration.
Land pressure seems considerable in such areas. In addition
to usufruct rights similar to Grand Gedeh, cases of land
purchases and land rentals are found. Besides individual land
purchases, sometimes a whole village bands together and purchases
the land they are farming. As for land rentals, two forms are
found. One is the more traditional quasi-rental pattern of giving
a portion of rice at harvest for the right to farm an area. The
second form is an actual cash payment of ten to twenty dollars
for one year's access.
One consequence of the high population density in Nimba has
been the removal of a considerable amount of the high bush in the
area. Presently, most of the land accessible to farmers is
secondary bush. In addition to this, land pressure in the area
has forced many farmers to shorten the fallowing period on their
land. Both the prevalence of secondary bush and the shorter
fallow period have had a significant impact on the farming system



The amount of rice given now for land access is much greater
than the traditional token. In the past, a wash pan or bucket
of rice may have sufficed. Presently, 2 bags of paddy rice is
not uncommon.











III. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS IN GRAND GEDEH COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

Usufruct arrangements predominate in all the villages
surveyed. Land is not being purchased nor is land actually being
rented. A considerable proportion of the land is still in high
bush due to low population densities. Rights to access of land
are gained by being the first individual to clear high bush from
an area. Permission from the individual or his heir must be
obtained by other individuals wishing to make a farm on this
land.
In quest of high bush, farms are often located considerable
distances away from the village. Due to such distances, satellite
villages are sometimes created.

B. Upland Rice

Upland rice farming in Grand Gedeh is different from that in
Bong and Nimba primarily because of the availability of high bush
and use of the dibble method of planting. Fields are often made
on land in fallow up to 20 years or more. This long fallow
strongly affects rice cultivation by reducing the presence of
weeds, groundhogs, and birds. Felling trees requires more labor
and is much more of a constraint than where trees are immature.
Site selection is usually based on the presence of plants
which are known to indicate good soil or on traditional soil
tests. Such indicators are important criteria for selecting sites
for farms in high bush areas. The landscape seems flatter than
in Nimba or Bong. Soil degradation and erosion losses appear
low, perhaps due to the flatter landscape, the minimum tillage
dibble planting technique, and the effect of long fallow on soil
structure.
Farming operations take place somewhat earlier in Grand Gedeh
than in Bong and Nimba because the rains begin 4 to 6 weeks
earlier. Brushing typically begins between December and March,
but may begin as early as October so the farmer can concentrate
on felling trees during the principal land preparation period of
January to March. Felling trees is an important constraint in
high bush where large trees must be removed. Chainsaws are
available for rent in some villages at $25 a day, but few farmers
are using them. Farms in Grand Gedeh appear to be 'somewhat
smaller than in Nimba or Bong, although land appears to be
relatively more plentiful. The additional constraint of felling
trees probably restricts the amount of land prepared. In
addition, high bush fields should be somewhat more fertile and
less affected by weeds and pests so that higher yields might be
expected. If in fact high bush fields do produce higher yields,
then less area is required to feed a family of a given size.
Burning takes place from March through May. A farmer may burn
as soon as he finishes felling trees and cutting and piling the
branches. If he finishes early, he may burn immediately to assure











III. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS IN GRAND GEDEH COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

Usufruct arrangements predominate in all the villages
surveyed. Land is not being purchased nor is land actually being
rented. A considerable proportion of the land is still in high
bush due to low population densities. Rights to access of land
are gained by being the first individual to clear high bush from
an area. Permission from the individual or his heir must be
obtained by other individuals wishing to make a farm on this
land.
In quest of high bush, farms are often located considerable
distances away from the village. Due to such distances, satellite
villages are sometimes created.

B. Upland Rice

Upland rice farming in Grand Gedeh is different from that in
Bong and Nimba primarily because of the availability of high bush
and use of the dibble method of planting. Fields are often made
on land in fallow up to 20 years or more. This long fallow
strongly affects rice cultivation by reducing the presence of
weeds, groundhogs, and birds. Felling trees requires more labor
and is much more of a constraint than where trees are immature.
Site selection is usually based on the presence of plants
which are known to indicate good soil or on traditional soil
tests. Such indicators are important criteria for selecting sites
for farms in high bush areas. The landscape seems flatter than
in Nimba or Bong. Soil degradation and erosion losses appear
low, perhaps due to the flatter landscape, the minimum tillage
dibble planting technique, and the effect of long fallow on soil
structure.
Farming operations take place somewhat earlier in Grand Gedeh
than in Bong and Nimba because the rains begin 4 to 6 weeks
earlier. Brushing typically begins between December and March,
but may begin as early as October so the farmer can concentrate
on felling trees during the principal land preparation period of
January to March. Felling trees is an important constraint in
high bush where large trees must be removed. Chainsaws are
available for rent in some villages at $25 a day, but few farmers
are using them. Farms in Grand Gedeh appear to be 'somewhat
smaller than in Nimba or Bong, although land appears to be
relatively more plentiful. The additional constraint of felling
trees probably restricts the amount of land prepared. In
addition, high bush fields should be somewhat more fertile and
less affected by weeds and pests so that higher yields might be
expected. If in fact high bush fields do produce higher yields,
then less area is required to feed a family of a given size.
Burning takes place from March through May. A farmer may burn
as soon as he finishes felling trees and cutting and piling the
branches. If he finishes early, he may burn immediately to assure











III. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS IN GRAND GEDEH COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

Usufruct arrangements predominate in all the villages
surveyed. Land is not being purchased nor is land actually being
rented. A considerable proportion of the land is still in high
bush due to low population densities. Rights to access of land
are gained by being the first individual to clear high bush from
an area. Permission from the individual or his heir must be
obtained by other individuals wishing to make a farm on this
land.
In quest of high bush, farms are often located considerable
distances away from the village. Due to such distances, satellite
villages are sometimes created.

B. Upland Rice

Upland rice farming in Grand Gedeh is different from that in
Bong and Nimba primarily because of the availability of high bush
and use of the dibble method of planting. Fields are often made
on land in fallow up to 20 years or more. This long fallow
strongly affects rice cultivation by reducing the presence of
weeds, groundhogs, and birds. Felling trees requires more labor
and is much more of a constraint than where trees are immature.
Site selection is usually based on the presence of plants
which are known to indicate good soil or on traditional soil
tests. Such indicators are important criteria for selecting sites
for farms in high bush areas. The landscape seems flatter than
in Nimba or Bong. Soil degradation and erosion losses appear
low, perhaps due to the flatter landscape, the minimum tillage
dibble planting technique, and the effect of long fallow on soil
structure.
Farming operations take place somewhat earlier in Grand Gedeh
than in Bong and Nimba because the rains begin 4 to 6 weeks
earlier. Brushing typically begins between December and March,
but may begin as early as October so the farmer can concentrate
on felling trees during the principal land preparation period of
January to March. Felling trees is an important constraint in
high bush where large trees must be removed. Chainsaws are
available for rent in some villages at $25 a day, but few farmers
are using them. Farms in Grand Gedeh appear to be 'somewhat
smaller than in Nimba or Bong, although land appears to be
relatively more plentiful. The additional constraint of felling
trees probably restricts the amount of land prepared. In
addition, high bush fields should be somewhat more fertile and
less affected by weeds and pests so that higher yields might be
expected. If in fact high bush fields do produce higher yields,
then less area is required to feed a family of a given size.
Burning takes place from March through May. A farmer may burn
as soon as he finishes felling trees and cutting and piling the
branches. If he finishes early, he may burn immediately to assure











IV. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS FOR NIMBA COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

The tenure situation is more complex in Nimba than in Grand
Gedeh because of the higher population density characterizing
this area. Land pressure seems considerable. In addition to
usufruct rights, cases of land purchases and land rentals are
found. Land purchases include individual purchases as well as
village purchases. Two forms of rental arrangements are found.
One is the traditional quasi-rental pattern of giving a portion
of rice at harvest for the right to farm an area. This amount
could be as much as two bags of paddy rice. The second form
consists of cash payments of ten to twenty dollars for one year's
rent.
Very little high bush is available. Thus, most of the land
accessible to farmers is secondary bush. In addition, land
pressure continues to shorten fallow periods. Even secondary bush
may only be available at considerable distance from the village.
Both the prevalence of secondary bush and the shorter fallow
periods are having a significant impact on the farming system
found in the area.

B. Upland Rice:

Upland rice farming in Nimba is characterized by the
cultivation of secondary bush and by the integration of soil
tillage and planting into one activity, scratch-planting.
Problems associated with farming secondary bush, i.e. groundhogs,
weeds, and rice birds, require the addition of several operations
not common in Grand Gedeh.
Site selection is more restricted by land availability than in
Grand Gedeh. Farmers or their fathers typically have had
experience cultivating the various tracts of land available to
them. They use their knowledge of the tracts and the length of
time each has been in fallow to determine which site should be
used in a given year. Soil fertility may be limited by the short
fallow period and erosion may also be a problem due to the
cultivation of fairly steep slopes. These problems are
exacerbated by the use of the scratch-planting technique which
loosens soil over the entire field.
In the absence of large trees, brushing is the major field
preparation activity and is usually done between January and
April. Felling trees is a secondary activity and is often done
at the .same time as brushing. Kuus of both men and women are
often used, in which women do much of the brushing and men fell
trees and help brush. The field may be burned as early as March,
but late May is more common. Clearing the field of debris to
facilitate hoeing and planting may be done as a separate activity
from April through June. However, in 1984, the rains came early
and were heavier than normal. Many farmers are still in the
process of clearing, hoeing, and planting in late July.











IV. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS FOR NIMBA COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

The tenure situation is more complex in Nimba than in Grand
Gedeh because of the higher population density characterizing
this area. Land pressure seems considerable. In addition to
usufruct rights, cases of land purchases and land rentals are
found. Land purchases include individual purchases as well as
village purchases. Two forms of rental arrangements are found.
One is the traditional quasi-rental pattern of giving a portion
of rice at harvest for the right to farm an area. This amount
could be as much as two bags of paddy rice. The second form
consists of cash payments of ten to twenty dollars for one year's
rent.
Very little high bush is available. Thus, most of the land
accessible to farmers is secondary bush. In addition, land
pressure continues to shorten fallow periods. Even secondary bush
may only be available at considerable distance from the village.
Both the prevalence of secondary bush and the shorter fallow
periods are having a significant impact on the farming system
found in the area.

B. Upland Rice:

Upland rice farming in Nimba is characterized by the
cultivation of secondary bush and by the integration of soil
tillage and planting into one activity, scratch-planting.
Problems associated with farming secondary bush, i.e. groundhogs,
weeds, and rice birds, require the addition of several operations
not common in Grand Gedeh.
Site selection is more restricted by land availability than in
Grand Gedeh. Farmers or their fathers typically have had
experience cultivating the various tracts of land available to
them. They use their knowledge of the tracts and the length of
time each has been in fallow to determine which site should be
used in a given year. Soil fertility may be limited by the short
fallow period and erosion may also be a problem due to the
cultivation of fairly steep slopes. These problems are
exacerbated by the use of the scratch-planting technique which
loosens soil over the entire field.
In the absence of large trees, brushing is the major field
preparation activity and is usually done between January and
April. Felling trees is a secondary activity and is often done
at the .same time as brushing. Kuus of both men and women are
often used, in which women do much of the brushing and men fell
trees and help brush. The field may be burned as early as March,
but late May is more common. Clearing the field of debris to
facilitate hoeing and planting may be done as a separate activity
from April through June. However, in 1984, the rains came early
and were heavier than normal. Many farmers are still in the
process of clearing, hoeing, and planting in late July.











IV. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS FOR NIMBA COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

The tenure situation is more complex in Nimba than in Grand
Gedeh because of the higher population density characterizing
this area. Land pressure seems considerable. In addition to
usufruct rights, cases of land purchases and land rentals are
found. Land purchases include individual purchases as well as
village purchases. Two forms of rental arrangements are found.
One is the traditional quasi-rental pattern of giving a portion
of rice at harvest for the right to farm an area. This amount
could be as much as two bags of paddy rice. The second form
consists of cash payments of ten to twenty dollars for one year's
rent.
Very little high bush is available. Thus, most of the land
accessible to farmers is secondary bush. In addition, land
pressure continues to shorten fallow periods. Even secondary bush
may only be available at considerable distance from the village.
Both the prevalence of secondary bush and the shorter fallow
periods are having a significant impact on the farming system
found in the area.

B. Upland Rice:

Upland rice farming in Nimba is characterized by the
cultivation of secondary bush and by the integration of soil
tillage and planting into one activity, scratch-planting.
Problems associated with farming secondary bush, i.e. groundhogs,
weeds, and rice birds, require the addition of several operations
not common in Grand Gedeh.
Site selection is more restricted by land availability than in
Grand Gedeh. Farmers or their fathers typically have had
experience cultivating the various tracts of land available to
them. They use their knowledge of the tracts and the length of
time each has been in fallow to determine which site should be
used in a given year. Soil fertility may be limited by the short
fallow period and erosion may also be a problem due to the
cultivation of fairly steep slopes. These problems are
exacerbated by the use of the scratch-planting technique which
loosens soil over the entire field.
In the absence of large trees, brushing is the major field
preparation activity and is usually done between January and
April. Felling trees is a secondary activity and is often done
at the .same time as brushing. Kuus of both men and women are
often used, in which women do much of the brushing and men fell
trees and help brush. The field may be burned as early as March,
but late May is more common. Clearing the field of debris to
facilitate hoeing and planting may be done as a separate activity
from April through June. However, in 1984, the rains came early
and were heavier than normal. Many farmers are still in the
process of clearing, hoeing, and planting in late July.











of the report.



B. Content of the Report:

The information provided by this report is presented in three
major sections. First, the general farming systems
characteristics of the three counties taken together are
presented. This section addresses such topics as access to land,
spatial arrangements of farmers' fields, labor patterns, upland
rice cropping patterns, cassava cropping patterns, sugar cane
cropping patterns, groundnut cropping patterns, swamp rice
cropping patterns, animal husbandry patterns, marketing patterns,
other sources of income, access to credit, consumption patterns,
community farms, and government interventions.
The Becond section of the report presents the specific
findings for each county on the various topics addressed in the
previous section. If farm families in all three counties follow
similar patterns for a given practice, then that topic is not
presented in this section.
The third section of the report presents a summary of the
farming systems found in the three counties surveyed as well as
the team's recommendations. The recommendation subsection is
structured in such a way that: 1) a constraint is identified; 2)
the farmers' present compensating strategies to deal with the
constraint are outlined; and 3) recommendations are proposed that
take these strategies into consideration. The constraints
addressed in this section include general economic constraints,
crop specific constraints, animal husbandry constraints,
marketing constraints, and consumption related constraints.
The final section of this report contains the appendices.
These appendices present detailed information that does not
appear in the main body of the report which should be useful to
researchers and administrators.











V. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS FOR BONG COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

The tenure situation is also complicated in Bong, but for
different reasons than in Nimba. Land pressure is due to the
prevalence of concessions (mostly rubber) and private estate
ownership. Usufruct tenure arrangements are still common, but
land purchases and land rentals are also found. The only rental
arrangement identified is the traditional one of giving a
quantity of rice at harvest to obtain land access. However, the
amount of rice given is much more than the traditional token
given in the past (now as much as two clean bags of rice is
given). In one case, a farmer claimed that he had not been able
to make a rice farm the previous year because he had been unable
to negotiate land rental with any of the landowners. Land
pressure caused by the prevalence of rubber plantations, private
estates and government farms has had a considerable impact on the
farming system. Similar to Nimba, very little high bush is still
accessible to farmers. Farmers are making farms on secondary bush
with short fallow periods (5-6 years) and are often obliged to
farm at considerable distances from the village.


B. Upland Rice:

Upland rice farming in Bong, like Nimba, is characterized by
the use of the scratch-planting technique and other strategies
which counter the problems associated with farming secondary
bush. The timing and practices employed in field operations in
Bong are even more variable than in Nimba because of the
diversity of farm enterprises and other family activities
typically found in Bong.
Site selection for upland rice fields tends to be constrained
by the availability of land. Given the short fallow periods,
selection is usually based on previous experience with the piece
of land being considered. Some of the villages surveyed are
located in very hilly terrain, and the slope of some fields may
approach 45 degrees.
Brushing may start as early as October or as late as April but
is commonly done between January and April. Villages differ on
whether women participate in brushing or not. The timing for
felling trees varies but is centered in February and March. It
may be associated with brushing as part of a kuu activity in
which both men and women participate, or done separately. Burning
may take place from early March to early June and often falls in
April. Clearing takes place from March through June, but may be
done all at once by kuu labor or be done progressively in
association with hoeing and planting. Hoeing and planting follow
burning by two weeks to two months, starting as early as April
and continuing through August. Women weed the field again
anytime between April and August, while the men spend 4 to 6











V. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS FOR BONG COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

The tenure situation is also complicated in Bong, but for
different reasons than in Nimba. Land pressure is due to the
prevalence of concessions (mostly rubber) and private estate
ownership. Usufruct tenure arrangements are still common, but
land purchases and land rentals are also found. The only rental
arrangement identified is the traditional one of giving a
quantity of rice at harvest to obtain land access. However, the
amount of rice given is much more than the traditional token
given in the past (now as much as two clean bags of rice is
given). In one case, a farmer claimed that he had not been able
to make a rice farm the previous year because he had been unable
to negotiate land rental with any of the landowners. Land
pressure caused by the prevalence of rubber plantations, private
estates and government farms has had a considerable impact on the
farming system. Similar to Nimba, very little high bush is still
accessible to farmers. Farmers are making farms on secondary bush
with short fallow periods (5-6 years) and are often obliged to
farm at considerable distances from the village.


B. Upland Rice:

Upland rice farming in Bong, like Nimba, is characterized by
the use of the scratch-planting technique and other strategies
which counter the problems associated with farming secondary
bush. The timing and practices employed in field operations in
Bong are even more variable than in Nimba because of the
diversity of farm enterprises and other family activities
typically found in Bong.
Site selection for upland rice fields tends to be constrained
by the availability of land. Given the short fallow periods,
selection is usually based on previous experience with the piece
of land being considered. Some of the villages surveyed are
located in very hilly terrain, and the slope of some fields may
approach 45 degrees.
Brushing may start as early as October or as late as April but
is commonly done between January and April. Villages differ on
whether women participate in brushing or not. The timing for
felling trees varies but is centered in February and March. It
may be associated with brushing as part of a kuu activity in
which both men and women participate, or done separately. Burning
may take place from early March to early June and often falls in
April. Clearing takes place from March through June, but may be
done all at once by kuu labor or be done progressively in
association with hoeing and planting. Hoeing and planting follow
burning by two weeks to two months, starting as early as April
and continuing through August. Women weed the field again
anytime between April and August, while the men spend 4 to 6











V. FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS FOR BONG COUNTY

A. Access to Land:

The tenure situation is also complicated in Bong, but for
different reasons than in Nimba. Land pressure is due to the
prevalence of concessions (mostly rubber) and private estate
ownership. Usufruct tenure arrangements are still common, but
land purchases and land rentals are also found. The only rental
arrangement identified is the traditional one of giving a
quantity of rice at harvest to obtain land access. However, the
amount of rice given is much more than the traditional token
given in the past (now as much as two clean bags of rice is
given). In one case, a farmer claimed that he had not been able
to make a rice farm the previous year because he had been unable
to negotiate land rental with any of the landowners. Land
pressure caused by the prevalence of rubber plantations, private
estates and government farms has had a considerable impact on the
farming system. Similar to Nimba, very little high bush is still
accessible to farmers. Farmers are making farms on secondary bush
with short fallow periods (5-6 years) and are often obliged to
farm at considerable distances from the village.


B. Upland Rice:

Upland rice farming in Bong, like Nimba, is characterized by
the use of the scratch-planting technique and other strategies
which counter the problems associated with farming secondary
bush. The timing and practices employed in field operations in
Bong are even more variable than in Nimba because of the
diversity of farm enterprises and other family activities
typically found in Bong.
Site selection for upland rice fields tends to be constrained
by the availability of land. Given the short fallow periods,
selection is usually based on previous experience with the piece
of land being considered. Some of the villages surveyed are
located in very hilly terrain, and the slope of some fields may
approach 45 degrees.
Brushing may start as early as October or as late as April but
is commonly done between January and April. Villages differ on
whether women participate in brushing or not. The timing for
felling trees varies but is centered in February and March. It
may be associated with brushing as part of a kuu activity in
which both men and women participate, or done separately. Burning
may take place from early March to early June and often falls in
April. Clearing takes place from March through June, but may be
done all at once by kuu labor or be done progressively in
association with hoeing and planting. Hoeing and planting follow
burning by two weeks to two months, starting as early as April
and continuing through August. Women weed the field again
anytime between April and August, while the men spend 4 to 6











pressure is more prevalent, less flexibility exists as to where
upland farms can be located. The tendency is to plant upland
farms on secondary bush with short fallow periods.
Topographic considerations do not seem to play a critical role
in farmers' decisions regarding upland farm location. Although
some farmers indicate that they prefer flat areas to make their
farms, they also say that rice does just as well on slopes.


C. General Labor Patterns:

Two major points can be drawn about the labor patterns found
in the three counties surveyed. First, most labor activities seem
to be adjusted around the upland rice cycle. Second, though not
absolute, a division of labor exists for the performance of
agricultural operations.
Upland rice farming is the primary agricultural activity
performed by the farm family. A major portion of the family's
time is spent on the upland farm in order to secure an adequate
supply of rice. All other agricultural activities not tied to the
upland farm are of secondary importance as far as labor
allocation is concerned. The major labor operations associated
with upland rice farming include brushing, tree felling, burning,
clearing, planting, weeding, fence building, bird watching and
harvesting (see Appendices E through H for labor calender).


C.I. Sources of Labor:

To perform their agricultural activities, farmers will draw
from three primary sources of labor. First, farmers may rely on
family labor to do the activity. In the past, having large
families was a way to compensate for the labor constraints
associated with slash and burn farming. Recently, family labor
supplies are decreasing due to out-migration of children for
school or wage employment. Still, the number of wives a male
farmer has basically represents his core family labor assets. If
enough family labor is not available to perform the task, farmers
have to resort to other sources of labor to get the job
accomplished.
Kuus are a second source of labor. A kuu is a reciprocal
communal labor arrangement which involves a group of laborers
working together on a particular task, rotating from one member's
field to another. Food and drink are provided by the farmer
having the kuu on his/her field that particular day. Kuu labor
groups for most operations are quite common in Nimba and Bong but
less common in Grand Gedeh.



In fact, some farms in Bong County are located on 45 degree
slopes.











a good burn or wait until the first rains begin to minimize weed
growth prior to planting. If a reasonably good burn is achieved,
farmers do not attempt to clear the field of remaining trunks and
debris. This is practical because the dibble method of planting
used is a minimum tillage technique and is not preceded or
accompanied by any soil cultivation. Planting may begin as early
as March and can be completed within a few days if all the
planting is done at one time. Some women wait up to a week
between plantings to help spread out the harvest. Other women
rely on varieties of different maturities to space out the
harvest.
Most families grow several varieties of different maturities
ranging from 3 to 5 months. Short maturing varieties are planted
first on a hungry farm or a portion of the major farm to help
meet hungry season food requirements. Hungry farms tend to be
found only in families with more than one wife. Varieties cited
by farmers include Desemah, Menonkor, Queekor, Doodoe, Koryea,
and Vlayonedu. Desemah is found in most of the villages
surveyed and farmers claim that it is very productive. Improved
upland rice varieties are not widely distributed in the area.
Rice is typically intercropped with cassava, corn, yam, eddo,
sweet potato, banana, plantain, and numerous other vegetables
including bitterball, okra, squash, pumpkin, pepper, eggplant,
and plato.
Weeding begins as early as March. Secondary bush may require a
second weeding in June or July. Farmers hope that weeding will
not be required on high bush fields but they may weed in July if
it becomes necessary. Bird watching is not practiced in a the
majority of the villages surveyed in Grand Gedeh, and groundhog
fences are usually not built to protect the rice. Farmers say
that it is easier to make a larger field so some rice can be
shared with the groundhogs, than to fence it.


C. Cas sava

Cassava is normally intercropped with rice. In Grand Gedeh,
cassava is planted 4 to 6 weeks after the rice on only a portion
of the rice field. The spaces left by the random nature of
dibble planting make this delayed planting practical. The delay,
coupled with intercropping cassava in a portion of the rice field
where a fast maturing rice variety is planted, allows the rice to
mature before the cassava grows tall enough to shade the rice. In
this manner, the competitive effect of cassava on rice is
minimized, allowing the cassava to be planted at a higher density
than in other systems observed. Bananas and plantain are not
planted .on the same portion of the field as cassava, since these
-------------------------------

20 varieties are listed in the appendix by county, village, and
approximate length of maturity.










Scratch-planting is usually delayed until 4 to 6 weeks after
burning, i.e., beginning in April or May through July. This is
done to make sure that weed seed in the soil has germinated
before hoeing. Hoeing the entire field is much more time
consuming and requires more labor than the dibble method, but it
reduces the labor required for weeding later in the season.
Broadcasting provides more uniform planting and perhaps a higher
plant population than the dibble method. This may help compensate
for the lower fertility expected after a short fallow period.
Broadcast planting also eliminates the option of planting
intercrops after the rice, since some of the rice would be
destroyed. Intercrops include cassava, corn, yam, eddo, sweet
potato, and a variety of other vegetables. Bananas and plantain
are less common than in the other two counties because cassava is
intercropped over the entire rice field.
As in Grand Gedeh, most families plant several rice varieties
of different maturity ranging from 3 to 5 months. However, in
Nimba this is done to spread out the planting season rather than
the harvest. Because of the serious bird problem, farmers do not
want any portion of their rice to mature ahead of the majority of
the rice acreage. Therefore, they plant their longer maturing
varieties first and plant shorter maturing varieties later in the
season. This need to delay the time at which rice begins to
mature reinforces the advantage of waiting a number of weeks
after burning before beginning to hoe and plant. The bird
problem also eliminates the possibility of using an early
maturing variety to help meet hungry season food requirements.
Instead, cassava is relied upon much more heavily as a hungry
season food among the Mano, and as the main staple all year among
the Gio. A number of farmers are growing improved upland rice
varieties, including both red and white Lac 23. Local varieties
grown include: Nakatua,2 ankanoeh, Leebay, Meleken, Plantee, Con-
ko, Gwesiah, and Lesah.
Birdwatching must be done for a week after planting and for
about a month while the rice is heading. Farmers often build
fences to protect rice fields from groundhogs. This is done from
June through August, and requires a month or more depending on
the amount of labor available. A second weeding is often done at
this time as well.


C. Cassava:

Cassava is more important in Nimba than in Grand Gedeh or
Bong. It plays a more important role in the diet and is planted
over larger areas than in the other two counties
Because the rice is broadcast planted, it is impractical to
--------------------

21
Rice varieties are listed in the appendix by county, village,
and approximate length of maturity.











SUMMARY OF COUNTY SPECIFIC FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS

Two basic farming systems are found in the three counties
surveyed. The key factors which distinguish the systems are the
length of fallow, the rice planting method, and the degree of
diversity. The rice-cassava intercrop pattern is also important
in distinguishing sub-system differences in Bong and Nimba.

I. Grand Gedeh:

Grand Gedeh farmers typically make their upland fields in high
bush which has been in fallow for up to 20 years or more. The
presence of numerous large trees makes tree felling the most
difficult and constraining field preparation activity.
Groundhogs, weeds, and birds are less of a problem than where the
fallow period is normally shorter. Rice is planted using the
dibble method and no soil tillage is performed. If a reasonable
burn is achieved, farmers do not attempt to clear the field of
remaining tree trunks and debris.
Cassava is planted on a portion of the rice field about one
month after the rice is planted. This delay prevents cassava from
shading the rice and minimizes competition. Bananas and plantain
are intercropped with the rice on a different portion of field. A
number of tubers and other vegetables are intercropped with the
rice throughout the entire field. These include: cocoyams, yams,
sweet potatoes, corn, okra, peppers, bitterball, pumpkin, squash,
plato, watergreens, tomatoes, and sesame.
Both early- and late-maturing rice varieties are usually
planted. The early variety is planted first so that rice
harvesting can begin as early as July or August.
Farmers tend not to build fences to protect their rice from
groundhogs. Instead, they try to increase the size of their
field and/or locate their field far from areas of secondary bush
where groundhogs are likely to be numerous.
In high bush, the dense shade of the mature forest limits the
presence of weeds. Wi'th little weed seed in the soil to
germinate, rice gets a head start and dominates weed competition.
Farmers generally do not expect to weed their high bush fields.
Few farmers have either traditional or improved swamp rice
farms. A portion of the upland rice field often descends into a
swampy area. However, it is considered part of the upland rice
field and is cultivated in the same manner.
Women often plant a short maturing rice and intercrops in a
small "hungry farm" separate from the main field. It is usually
placed on a portion of the previous year's rice field or some
other area of secondary bush. This field assures the family's
rice needs until the main field is ready for harvest. The
remaining produce of the "hungry farm" is used to meet the
personal needs of the woman.
The reciprocal kuu system is not generally practiced in Grand
Gedeh villages and farmers rely more on family labor. Although
some labor is hired to help with many farming activities, hired











SUMMARY OF COUNTY SPECIFIC FARMING SYSTEMS CHARACTERISTICS

Two basic farming systems are found in the three counties
surveyed. The key factors which distinguish the systems are the
length of fallow, the rice planting method, and the degree of
diversity. The rice-cassava intercrop pattern is also important
in distinguishing sub-system differences in Bong and Nimba.

I. Grand Gedeh:

Grand Gedeh farmers typically make their upland fields in high
bush which has been in fallow for up to 20 years or more. The
presence of numerous large trees makes tree felling the most
difficult and constraining field preparation activity.
Groundhogs, weeds, and birds are less of a problem than where the
fallow period is normally shorter. Rice is planted using the
dibble method and no soil tillage is performed. If a reasonable
burn is achieved, farmers do not attempt to clear the field of
remaining tree trunks and debris.
Cassava is planted on a portion of the rice field about one
month after the rice is planted. This delay prevents cassava from
shading the rice and minimizes competition. Bananas and plantain
are intercropped with the rice on a different portion of field. A
number of tubers and other vegetables are intercropped with the
rice throughout the entire field. These include: cocoyams, yams,
sweet potatoes, corn, okra, peppers, bitterball, pumpkin, squash,
plato, watergreens, tomatoes, and sesame.
Both early- and late-maturing rice varieties are usually
planted. The early variety is planted first so that rice
harvesting can begin as early as July or August.
Farmers tend not to build fences to protect their rice from
groundhogs. Instead, they try to increase the size of their
field and/or locate their field far from areas of secondary bush
where groundhogs are likely to be numerous.
In high bush, the dense shade of the mature forest limits the
presence of weeds. Wi'th little weed seed in the soil to
germinate, rice gets a head start and dominates weed competition.
Farmers generally do not expect to weed their high bush fields.
Few farmers have either traditional or improved swamp rice
farms. A portion of the upland rice field often descends into a
swampy area. However, it is considered part of the upland rice
field and is cultivated in the same manner.
Women often plant a short maturing rice and intercrops in a
small "hungry farm" separate from the main field. It is usually
placed on a portion of the previous year's rice field or some
other area of secondary bush. This field assures the family's
rice needs until the main field is ready for harvest. The
remaining produce of the "hungry farm" is used to meet the
personal needs of the woman.
The reciprocal kuu system is not generally practiced in Grand
Gedeh villages and farmers rely more on family labor. Although
some labor is hired to help with many farming activities, hired











Hungry farms:
Although most farmers succeed in producing a major portion of
the foods consumed, they do not always produce enough to feed the
family at a sufficient quantity for the entire year. The period
between planting and the main harvest is often called the "hungry
season." To meet hungry season food requirements, farmers employ
various strategies. In Grand Gedeh, farmers with more than one
wife often have several upland rice fields including a major
field and one or more minor fields. These smaller fields serve
as "hungry farms." Early-maturing varieties are planted on these
minor fields and are harvested some time during the hungry
season. For those farmers having only one wife, one large rice
farm is usually planted with both short- and long-maturing
varieties. The short-maturing varieties tend to be planted first
so that they mature at some point during the hungry season. Some
families may have both hungry fields and short cycle varieties in
the major fieldss. Other families eat cassava as a substitute
for rice during the hungry season.
The strategies of planting hungry farms and/or the early
planting of short-maturing rice varieties in major rice fields
are not common in Bong and Nimba. The prevalence of birds makes
it impractical to have small quantities of rice mature prior to
the main harvest. In Nimba, cassava and/or local rice purchases
seem to be the main compensating strategies farmers use that deal
with seasonal food shortages. In Bong, where less cassava seems
to be grown relative to Nimba, rice purchases appear to be the
major strategy. In a limited number of cases, swamp rice is
reported to be an important source of hungry season food in
certain areas of Bong and Nimba.


E. Cassava:

Cassava is the second most important food crop in the areas
surveyed and a major food source that people rely on during the
hungry season prior to the new rice harvest. It can be left in
the ground a year or longer once it is mature. Although somewhat
demanding of phosphate and potash, it requires little nitrogen
and grows well even in soils considered to be low in fertility.
Cassava is also very resistant to drought. For these reasons the
rice-cassava intercrop is nearly an ideal combination.


E.1. Cassava Intercropped with Rice:

Rice is demanding of nitrogen, while cassava grows well even
after the nitrogen has been depleted. Rice is sensitive to
drought but tolerant of excess moisture, while cassava tolerates
most conditions except poorly drained soil. Intercropping
cassava with rice greatly reduces the risk of total crop failure
and helps stabilize both seasonal and annual production of both
crops. A different rice-cassava intercrop pattern is dominant in











each of the three counties surveyed and a few farmers in each
county plant their cassava after the rice harvest.



Cassava planted after the rice:
In Grand Gedeh, cassava is planted 4 to 6 weeks after the
rice. Since the rice is dibble planted, it is not difficult to
plant the cassava cuttings. Because of its earlier planting, rice
shades the field and dominates the cassava, limiting the effect
of competition from the cassava. Cassava is usually only planted
on a portion of the field and is often intercropped with the
first rice planted. The fact that the earliest maturing rice
varieties are usually planted first helps assure that the cassava
will not shade the rice. Once the rice is harvested, the cassava
can grow and mature normally. Since the cassava does not shade
the rice, cassava can be planted at a fairly heavy density.
Because of the limited competition from cassava, this is
probably the most efficient of the three intercropping strategies
in terms of Land Equivalent Ratio. However, it is probably not
practical in areas where broadcast planting is practiced. In such
areas, planting cassava after rice would probably result in the
removal or destruction of many rice plants. It is doubtful that
farmers would accept this.



Planting cassava with the rice:
In Nimba, farmers plant the cassava cuttings at the same time
that they are planting the rice. In this manner, the broadcast
rice seed is moved to the side, but no plants are destroyed. The
cassava does tend to grow faster and at some point begins to
shade the rice. To reduce this competition, the cassava is
planted at low density and the lower half of the branches and
leaves are removed when it starts shading the rice. Farmers say
that the leaves of immature cassava plants are not good to eat
but may be fed to livestock. Cassava is intercropped throughout
the entire rice field except for swampy areas. This larger area
of cassava reflects its importance in consumption. Intercropping
bananas and plantain in the rice field is largely eliminated
since farmers believe they are too competitive with cassava.



Cassava before rice:
In Bong County, the common intercropping pattern is to plant
the cassava shortly after burning the field, which may be any
time from 2 weeks to 2 months before the rice is broadcast. The
cassava will have germinated and will be growing before hoeing
begins. In this manner it can be identified so that it is not
hoed out and does not interfere with the broadcasting of rice
seed. The stripping of leaves and branches to prevent shading of











the rice is not as commonly practiced as in Nimba, so farmers
often rely on the low cassava density alone to reduce
competition. In contrast to Nimba, cassava is frequently planted
on only a portion of the field.



Rice-cassava double-cropping:
In all three counties, a few farmers plant their cassava as a
second crop, after the rice is harvested. In some cases,
particularly in Bong county, farmers state that this is because
they believe ground hogs like cassava even better than rice. In
such cases, planting cassava in this manner is a strategy to help
reduce the groundhog damage to the rice field and yet take
advantage of the groundhog fence, if one has been built. In many
other cases, this cassava planting strategy is a reaction to
problems encountered earlier in the year. If they did not have
cuttings available at the normal time of planting, or if the
initial planting has not done well, farmers may compensate by
planting cassava after the rice harvest.


E.2. Separate Cassava Fields:

Some farmers in each county also plant a cassava field
entirely separate from the rice field. In some cases, this is in
addition to intercropping cassava with rice, but in other cases
it represents an alternative strategy. These fields are often
made on a portion of the rice field from the previous 1 to 3
years, so land preparation is not too difficult. The time of
planting varies throughout the year but one important strategy is
to plant a fast-maturing variety in March or April. If necessary,
farmers could begin to eat this cassava 4 to 5 months later
during the hungry season.
Farmers who do not build a groundhog fence for the rice field
will sometimes plant a small field of cassava separately, and
build a groundhog fence for it alone. As stated earlier, this
separation is often an attempt to protect the rice because
farmers believe that groundhogs are more attracted to cassava
than rice. This belief is not universal.


E.3. Cassava Varieties:

A number of cassava varieties are found in both Grand Gedeh
and Bong Counties (see Appendix J), but only a single variety is
identified in Nimba. "Matadi," an introduced "sweet" cassava, is
universally the choice of Nimba farmers. This variety has
replaced all of the traditional local varieties in this area
where cassava is eaten practically every day. In areas where
cassava is less important in the diet, farmers still use many of
their local varieties. Some of these are "bitter" varieties which











contain hydrocyanic acid (HCN) and must be processed before
eating to prevent cyanide poisoning. Farmers say that the
"bitter" varieties yield a larger tuber and mature faster than
the introduced sweet varieties like "Matadi." Some of the local
varieties mentioned by farmers are: mornfo, boutoh, banweh and
coco in Grand Gedeh; with fusan, behuna, gbarkpalin, kpelemana,
two cents, and awakana mentioned in Bong. Say-ton-pon and
belaminah appear to be other names of "sweet" varieties in Grand
Gedeh and Bong, respectively. One additional variety in Bong
called gorbu is used for leaf production only.
One field trial of cassava varieties in Bong was visited. It
included CARICASS I, II and III, NUCASS I and II, and ROCASS I
and III. The farmer planted them without any specific
instructions and later the extension agent made him dig them up
and replant them by variety. About 700 of the 2100 plants died in
the process, but the rest looked good at the time of observation.
The CARICASS and NUCASS varieties did not show any cassava
mosaic, but the control showed a severe attack. These varieties
need to be tested in on-farm agronomic trials, particularly
intercrop trials with rice. They are bushy and should produce a
good leaf yield as well as tubers; however, the additional
business may cause shading problems as a rice intercrop.


E.4. Number of Cuttings:

Throughout the 3 counties surveyed, farmers plant cassava by
digging a shallow trench and laying 3 or 4 cuttings parallel in
the trench. If people are short of cuttings, the number might be
reduced to two. The only major exception to this pattern was a
woman in Bawaydi, Grand Gedeh, who planted 1 cutting at about a
60 degree angle in areas where there was a lot of grass. Except
in grass, she also used 3 or 4 cuttings in a shallow trench.


E.5. Pests and Diseases:

Farmers do not seem to recognize cassava diseases. When asked,
they consistently state that they have no disease problems with
cassava, even though cassava mosaic is present and serious in
every cassava field observed. Women do not even discriminate
against leaves affected by cassava mosaic when picking them for
eating. Cassava bacterial blight has been identified in some
fields, but it is not nearly as prevalent as cassava mosaic.
The common pests identified by farmers as a problem with
regard to cassava are: groundhogs, porcupine, and ground
squirrel. On occasion, grasshoppers are also cited for attacking
the leaves. As mentioned earlier, groundhogs are a serious
problem. Stake fences are often built, but even this is often not
sufficient to keep the groundhogs out. Controlling groundhogs is
the primary problem cited by farmers for cassava as well as for
rice. Porcupines are a problem, but they are less numerous than











mixed, indicating: 1) that it requires sites similar to cocoa
with good, soil and also good drainage; and 2) that coffee can
grow anywhere, even on gravelly soils. Cocoa is most often
planted in a forested area which provides shade. Coffee requires
less shade and may be planted in either a forested area or on the
upland rice field along with various other intercrops. The
spacings employed for both tree crops are always quite dense.
This assures that a shade canopy will develop when the trees
mature, which will minimize the growth of underbrush and the need
for underbrushing. Cocoa and coffee seedlings are underbrushed
twice a year in December-February and June-August. Mature cocoa
is underbrushed only once if at all, prior to harvest. Most
farmers try to underbrush coffee twice since they recognize that
it produces less shade than cocoa, but labor and financial
constraints often limit them to only one underbrushing prior to
harvest.
Many farmers begin harvesting both cocoa and coffee as early
as July and continue periodically through January. Cocoa tends to
be fermented 3 to 7 days and then dried 3 days to 2 weeks in
direct sunlight. Coffee is dried about a week and sold as cherry
coffee without any milling.
As in the other counties, blackpod is a serious cocoa disease
problem and stem borer is a serious problem for both crops. A
variety of wild animals plague cocoa producers, given the
prevalence of wildlife in the area.
Bananas and plantain are important secondary crops in Grand
Gedeh. They are intercropped with a variety of field and tree
crops as well as planted around the house and/or rice kitchen.
Farmers try to avoid intercropping bananas and plantain with
cassava. Citrus production seldom consists of more than 3 or 4
trees grown for family consumption. Oil palm is an important crop
for commercial concessions in the area but is seldom cultivated
by small farmers. Villagers harvest wild oil palm and produce a
number of oil palm products for both consumption and sale. Rubber
is not an important crop in the survey area of Grand Gedeh.


G. Livestock:

Few animals are observed in villages in Grand Gedeh. Goats are
the most prevalent type of livestock, except for poultry. More
domestic animals are observed in Grand Gedeh than in the other
two counties, but the numbers are still very small. Important
health problems observed are "Zeh" (perhaps mange or scabies),
particularly in sheep, and blindness (maybe infectious
conjunctivitis), particularly in goats. "Zeh" is so serious in
some areas that farmers have stopped trying to raise sheep. Goats
seem to the most commonly used livestock for important social
obligations and feeding kuus.











plant cassava after the rice. And since cassava is planted over
the entire field, except for swampy areas, it is not only planted
with fast maturing varieties of rice. Therefore, competition
between the cassava and rice is unavoidable and cassava may shade
the rice before the rice reaches maturity. To minimize this
competition, farmers plant cassava in low densities and strip the
lower branches and leaves to limit the area shaded. Since
bananas and plantain are not considered compatible with cassava,
they are eliminated as a rice intercrop, except perhaps in swampy
areas. As in the other counties, the method followed for planting
cassava consists of laying 3 or 4 cuttings parallel in shallow
trench.
Cassava is also planted as a second crop after rice or in
separate fields. Separate cassava fields may be an adaptive
strategy in cases where the farmer had trouble with rice-cassava
intercropping. The fear that cassava will attract groundhogs to
the rice is also cited as a reason to plant cassava as a second
crop or separate from the rice. Cassava planted in either of
these two ways is not commonly intercropped, except with a few
vegetables. Planting of such fields tends to be in November
through December and/or March through April to have cassava for
the hungry season. Separate cassava fields may also be planted
during the rainy season.
Most farmers in Nimba have adopted an introduced cassava
variety called Matadi which does not contain hydrocyanic acid.
The popularity of Matadi has practically stopped the cultivation
of traditional varieties in the villages surveyed. Matadi is
often attacked by cassava mosaic. Porcupine and ground squirrel
are other cassava pests found in addition to the groundhogs
mentioned earlier.


D. Swamp Rice:

Traditional swamp rice farms are more prevalent in Nimba than
in Grand Gedeh. These swamp rice farms are often the
responsibility of women who may be assisted by a man. Women have
limited access to upland fields, and swamp rice is one of few
domains open to them as a source of personal income. In contrast
to Grand Gedeh, these swamp farms may not be in close proximity
to the upland rice field.
Improved swamp rice cultivation is also more prevalent in
Nimba than in Grand Gedeh. Swamp rice farms are operated
communally by project motivated groups as well as privately by
families or individuals. Group swamp farms have been initiated
by the NCRDP. Village work groups called FDA's have been
established in many villages and are strongly oriented towards
swamp rice cultivation as a group activity. In some cases,
members spend one to two days a week during peak labor seasons
working on the FDA swamp farm. The limited input approach of this
project contrasts with that of the BCADP in Bong County. Private
participation in improved swamp rice farming again tends to be











weeks building a groundhog fence. Once again, farms appear
slightly larger than in Grand Gedeh and practically no "hungry
farms" are found. Farmers seem to reserve their cassava for
consumption during the hungry season rather than eating it as
often during the rest of the year as in Nimba. Buying more rice
and eating fewer meals per day seem to be other common strategies
for dealing with the lack of food during the hungry season.


C. Cassava:

As in the other two counties, cassava is often intercropped
with rice. The pattern in Bong is to plant the cassava 2 weeks
to 2 months before the rice. Farmers must then hoe around the
cassava, but it does not otherwise interfere with broadcasting
the rice. Shading of rice is a problem, but stripping cassava
leaves and branches is less commonly practiced. In many fields,
low density alone is the only control used to compensate for this
competition. The area of the rice field planted to cassava also
varies from a portion to the entire field. Bananas and plantain
are still usually found separate from the rice. Similar to the
other counties, cassava planting consists of laying 3 or 4
cuttings parallel in a shallow trench.
Cassava may also be planted as a second crop after rice or in
separate fields. The reason often cited for this practice is the
fear that cassava will attract groundhogs to the rice. The time
of planting of separate cassava fields is quite variable. There
also is a strong tendency to intercrop the cassava with a crop
other than rice, usually groundnuts. Intercropping with coffee
is also observed.
Many farmers are using Matadi, the introduced variety. But
most farmers also continue to grow traditional varieties as well.
These include Tusan, Behuna, Gbarkpalin, Kpelemana, Two cents,
Awakana, and Gorbu. As in the other counties, groundhogs,
porcupines, and ground squirrels are cited as the major pests of
cassava.


D. Swamp Rice:

Traditional swamp farming is basically the same as that in
Nimba. Improved swamp farming, on the other hand, though
project-motivated, is essentially individual oriented rather than
group oriented as in Nimba. The BCADP encourages swamp rice
production by providing farmers with loans to buy tools and to
hire labor to build the canals and bunds and maintain them for
the first two years. The BCADP agents also furnish the technical
expertise. This approach, based on providing credit for private
farms, contrasts with the low input and communal approach of the
NCRDP.











weeks building a groundhog fence. Once again, farms appear
slightly larger than in Grand Gedeh and practically no "hungry
farms" are found. Farmers seem to reserve their cassava for
consumption during the hungry season rather than eating it as
often during the rest of the year as in Nimba. Buying more rice
and eating fewer meals per day seem to be other common strategies
for dealing with the lack of food during the hungry season.


C. Cassava:

As in the other two counties, cassava is often intercropped
with rice. The pattern in Bong is to plant the cassava 2 weeks
to 2 months before the rice. Farmers must then hoe around the
cassava, but it does not otherwise interfere with broadcasting
the rice. Shading of rice is a problem, but stripping cassava
leaves and branches is less commonly practiced. In many fields,
low density alone is the only control used to compensate for this
competition. The area of the rice field planted to cassava also
varies from a portion to the entire field. Bananas and plantain
are still usually found separate from the rice. Similar to the
other counties, cassava planting consists of laying 3 or 4
cuttings parallel in a shallow trench.
Cassava may also be planted as a second crop after rice or in
separate fields. The reason often cited for this practice is the
fear that cassava will attract groundhogs to the rice. The time
of planting of separate cassava fields is quite variable. There
also is a strong tendency to intercrop the cassava with a crop
other than rice, usually groundnuts. Intercropping with coffee
is also observed.
Many farmers are using Matadi, the introduced variety. But
most farmers also continue to grow traditional varieties as well.
These include Tusan, Behuna, Gbarkpalin, Kpelemana, Two cents,
Awakana, and Gorbu. As in the other counties, groundhogs,
porcupines, and ground squirrels are cited as the major pests of
cassava.


D. Swamp Rice:

Traditional swamp farming is basically the same as that in
Nimba. Improved swamp farming, on the other hand, though
project-motivated, is essentially individual oriented rather than
group oriented as in Nimba. The BCADP encourages swamp rice
production by providing farmers with loans to buy tools and to
hire labor to build the canals and bunds and maintain them for
the first two years. The BCADP agents also furnish the technical
expertise. This approach, based on providing credit for private
farms, contrasts with the low input and communal approach of the
NCRDP.











labor is more expensive and less frequently employed than in the
other counties surveyed.
Cocoa and coffee are the dominant cash crops in Grand Gedeh.
In addition, rice, cassava and minor crops are sometimes sold.
The sale of wild meat and produce collected from the forest (e.g.
wild palm oil fruit) are other important sources of income.
Farmers own and produce few animals even though they are
important in meeting social obligations and as a source of ready
cash for emergencies.

II. Nimba and Bong:

Many of the characteristics of the farming system in Nimba and
Bong counties are similar. Both counties are experiencing some
degree of land pressure, which has shortened fallow periods, and
compels farmers to make their farms on secondary bush. In Nimba,
this pressure comes from a high population density, while in
Bong, it comes from the presence of concessions and from the
private ownership of large estates. Problems closely associated
with farming secondary bush such as groundhogs, weeds, and rice
birds, have an important impact on the characteristics of this
farming system.
Farms appear to be slightly larger in Nimba and Bong than in
Grand Gedeh, perhaps due to some combination of the following
factors: 1) felling trees is less of a constraint; 2) when large
kuus do the brushing, more land may be cleared than would be
otherwise by family labor; 3) poor fertility and pests associated
with secondary bush may oblige families to farm more extensively
to meet food requirements; and 4) the absence of "hungry farms"
may both permit and oblige the cultivation of a larger main
upland rice field.
Few large trees are present, so the major land preparation
activity is brushing rather than felling trees. More effort is
also devoted to clearing small tree trunks and debris after
burning so that it will be easier to hoe the field. Hoeing (or
scratching) the field does not begin until 2 to 8 weeks after
burning in order to give weed seed in the soil a chance to
germinate. Broadcast planting is done at the same time as the
scratching in order that this single hoeing might both eliminate
the weeds and cover the seeds. After hoeing, the weeds are
removed from the soil and piled so they will not have a chance to
grow back. A second weeding often seems to be necessary, at least
in years of high rainfall. This may also be related to the
severely reduced fallow period.
In Nimba, cassava is planted at low density at the same time
as the rice. It is typically intercropped on the entire rice
field, eliminating bananas and plantain as an important rice
intercrop. If the cassava gets too tall relative to the rice, the
lower branches and leaves are stripped to reduce shading. In
Bong, the cassava density is perhaps even lower than in Nimba and
it is planted 2 to 4 weeks before the rice. It is often planted
on only a portion of the rice field and stripping the cassava











leaves to prevent shading is less frequently practiced. Cassava,
in Nimba, seems to have a more important role in both production
and consumption than in the other two counties.
In Bong, some of the corn is planted with cassava before the
rice is planted. Some of the vegetable intercrops tend to be
planted after the rice in both counties.
Early- and late-maturing rice varieties are usually planted,
but the pattern is not consistent. Where birds are a serious
problem, the late-maturing varieties tend to be planted first.
The fear is that an early-maturing field will be decimated by the
birds, but the attack will be spread across more fields later in
the season. This strategy may lengthen the "hungry season" by
delaying the new harvest by 2 to 3 months.
Farmers regularly build fences in Bong and Nimba to protect
rice from groundhogs. This will occupy the men for a month or
more, while women finish the planting and weeding. Bird watching
is also common for a week after planting and for about a month
while the rice is heading.
A few farmers have swamp rice fields, but men tend to be more
involved in the improved rice fields sponsored by projects.
"Hungry farms" are not common, but in some cases swamp rice
fields will take their place as well as provide a source of
income for personal needs.
The diversity of farm enterprises is one of the biggest
differences between the farming system in these two counties and
that of Grand Gedeh. Farmers are often involved in both cocoa and
coffee and perhaps sugar cane or groundnuts, as well as in their
upland field and occasionally swamp rice. Rubber, citrus or
cultivated oil palm may also be present. These numerous
activities in any one family tend to strain family labor
resources and management capabilities. Farmers are also more
likely to be involved in some form of off-farm employment. For
these reasons, hiring labor and hiring kuus, as well as using
reciprocal kuus are very prevalent in these two counties. Farmers
in Nimba often raise pigs with the intention of using them to
feed kuus. The use of hired labor is further encouraged by lower
day wages than those prevalent in Grand Gedeh.








84

CONSTRAINTS, AREAS OF INVESTIGATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The following discussion focuses on the major constraints and
proposed areas of investigation pertinent to the farming systems
found in the three counties surveyed. These are divided for
convenience of analysis into general production constraints and
crop specific constraints and areas of investigation. General
production constraints are broken down into access to land, labor
and capital. Crop specific constraints and areas of investigation
include those that apply to upland rice, cassava, swamp rice,
tree crops, other field crops, animals, marketing, and
consumption. Each constraint will be addressed separately and
recommendations will be proposed. Whenever appropriate the
compensating strategies currently developed and used by farmers
will be presented.

I. General Production Constraints:

General production constraints include those which pertain to
all crops.

A. Access to Land:

Although access to land is not a production constraint in
all areas of Liberia (e.g. Grand Gedeh), it is a limiting
factor in areas of high population concentration and/or
where concessions and private estate ownership are
prevalent. Because bush fallow rotation is the primary
means of compensating for fertility loss and excess
weeds, movement to new bush every year to make a farm is
the common practice. In areas experiencing land pressure,
high bush is being eliminated from the rotation system,
forcing farmers to farm in secondary bush with shorter
fallowing intervals.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Farmers are moving farther away from villages and
towns to seek out high bush or older secondary bush.
If the farms are far from the village, satellite
villages may be created.

2. Farmers may shorten the fallow period, returning to
previously farmed areas sooner than previously
practiced.

3. Some farmers may borrow land from relatives and
friends to plant their upland rice. Planting tree
crops is rarely permitted on borrowed land.

4. Some farmers may rent land from other people in the
village. This rent may be in the form of a quantity of








84

CONSTRAINTS, AREAS OF INVESTIGATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The following discussion focuses on the major constraints and
proposed areas of investigation pertinent to the farming systems
found in the three counties surveyed. These are divided for
convenience of analysis into general production constraints and
crop specific constraints and areas of investigation. General
production constraints are broken down into access to land, labor
and capital. Crop specific constraints and areas of investigation
include those that apply to upland rice, cassava, swamp rice,
tree crops, other field crops, animals, marketing, and
consumption. Each constraint will be addressed separately and
recommendations will be proposed. Whenever appropriate the
compensating strategies currently developed and used by farmers
will be presented.

I. General Production Constraints:

General production constraints include those which pertain to
all crops.

A. Access to Land:

Although access to land is not a production constraint in
all areas of Liberia (e.g. Grand Gedeh), it is a limiting
factor in areas of high population concentration and/or
where concessions and private estate ownership are
prevalent. Because bush fallow rotation is the primary
means of compensating for fertility loss and excess
weeds, movement to new bush every year to make a farm is
the common practice. In areas experiencing land pressure,
high bush is being eliminated from the rotation system,
forcing farmers to farm in secondary bush with shorter
fallowing intervals.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Farmers are moving farther away from villages and
towns to seek out high bush or older secondary bush.
If the farms are far from the village, satellite
villages may be created.

2. Farmers may shorten the fallow period, returning to
previously farmed areas sooner than previously
practiced.

3. Some farmers may borrow land from relatives and
friends to plant their upland rice. Planting tree
crops is rarely permitted on borrowed land.

4. Some farmers may rent land from other people in the
village. This rent may be in the form of a quantity of











rice or a cash payment. Tree crops cannot be planted
on rented land.

5. In some cases, farmers may actually purchase land to
secure its use. This is especially true in areas
where farmers fear that concessions and private
estates will acquire their land.

6. To maximize the use of individual fields, most farmers
are intercropping many crops on the upland rice field.

7. Another strategy used by most farmers to maximize the
use of a given field is to plant crops on that field
for two consecutive years. Some alternative crop mixes
used in this two year rotation include rice and
cassava, rice and plantain/bananas; rice and peanuts;
and rice, peanuts, and cassava.

8. Some farmers will migrate as a strategy to deal with
limited land access. They will migrate to concessions
and private estates for wage employment or to urban
areas.

Recommendations:

Ways should be sought to stabilize people for longer
periods of time on pieces of land than presently
practiced. Four approaches can be proposed for working
towards this goal.

1. Crop Rotation Systems Farmers are already planting
a second crop in a previous rice field so they may be
receptive to trying new rotation strategies. Research
should attempt to identify the most appropriate crop
rotation systems for specific areas. Considerations
should be given to food preferences and marketing
access in developing these rotation systems. The
effects of intercropping should also be investigated
in proposed systems. In addition, managed fallow
activities should be considered.

2. Tree Crop Food Crop Intercropping Researchers
should investigate how tree crops can be combined
with food crops in the same field.

3. Improved Swamp Rice Farming In the near future,
improved swamp rice farming is not likely to replace
upland farming in most areas because of a number of
constraints (see section on swamp rice). For this
reason, projects and extension services should
emphasize improved swamp rice farming in areas which
are experiencing severe land pressure. Research









86

should be conducted by these organizations to
determine those areas where land pressure is great
and swampland is available. Further research needs to
be done on the economics of combining improved swamp
rice farming with upland farming.

4. Chemical Inputs Chemical inputs are usually
expensive and not readily available to most farmers.
Nevertheless, the limited use of such inputs should
be considered where economically feasible.
Researchers could investigate the possibility of
integrating such inputs into crop rotation systems
and improved swamp rice farming in a cost-effective
manner.

B. Access to Labor:

Access to labor is a production constraint facing many
farmers in the area surveyed. Shortages of labor may
arise as a result of family members migrating for school
or wage employment. In addition, risk aversive strategies
such as enterprise diversification (e.g. growing many
different crops or planting multiple fields) may put a
serious strain on labor availability. Likewise, adding
the additional labor demands of project activities and
community farms to present farming system labor
requirements can exacerbate the situation.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Many farmers are using kuu labor to perform many of
the farm operations. A kuu is a reciprocal communal
labor arrangement which involves a group of laborers
working together on a particular task, rotating from
one members' field to another. An individual farmer
can gain additional access to labor by having
different family members join different kuus.

2. Some farmers will hire labor if they have the means.
Individual laborers may be hired on a daily or
contractual basis or farmers may resort to purchasing
the rights to a kuu from one of the kuu members.
(Hiring kuus are common in Bong and Nimba).

3. Some male farmers marry many wives as a way to
overcome labor constraints.

4. Intercropping vegetables in rice fields is a strategy
farmers follow to maximize returns to labor for a
given field.











Recommendations:

1. Projects and extension personnel should take into
consideration the labor constraints presently facing
farmers. They should refrain from introducing too
many interventions to a given farmer at one time.

2. Research should consider intercropping and cover-
cropping strategies to reduce labor requirements. For
example, cover-crops could be planted under tree crops
to cut down on underbrushing.

3. Research on various types of appropriate technologies
should be encouraged. In addition, the economics of
existing mechanical interventions should be
investigated (e.g. chainsaws and rototillers).

C. Access to Capital:
Capital accumulation is difficult for small farmers to
achieve primarily because of their subsistence
orientation and limited access to credit. Furthermore,
extended family social obligations may absorb a
considerable amount of the surplus which is generated.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Most farmers in the area surveyed are cultivating one
or more cash crops in addition to their upland rice.
The main cash crops are cocoa, coffee, and sugar cane.

2. Many farmers belong to the village credit associations
(susu) as a way to secure loans in times of need.
Typically, weekly dues are collected from each member
and loans usually have a 3 month payback period
(repayment is 125 to 150 percent of the loan amount).

3. Some farmers invest their cash earnings in animals.
Animals can provide a source of ready cash for
emergencies.

4. Some farmers seek out off-farm employment as a means
to increase their incomes. They may seek jobs in
nearby concessions and government plantations or
migrate periodically to other areas for wage
employment (e.g. Monrovia).

5. Farmers in some areas gain income from hunting and
fresh water fishing.

6. Many farmers are exploiting wild produce to supplement
their incomes. For example, wild palm nuts may be
collected and sold as processed oil. In addition,











to motivate them.


G. Other Major Field Crops

G.1 Sugar Cane:

Although considered a capital-intensive crop, many farmers in
the study areas of Bong and Nimba were found growing sugar cane
as a cash crop. However, in most cases, the high initial capital
investment required is not found to be an obstacle. The majority
of farmers have access to a wealthy farmer's processing
facilities for a fee or a share of the product. Of course,
accessibility is not only a question of availability, but it is
also a question of the distance between sugar cane fields and
processing facilities. Thus, farmers also have to absorb the cost
of transport to the processing site which can greatly reduce
profitability. Most farmers in this situation hoped to obtain
their own processing facilities over time.



Site selection:
Most farmers interviewed feel that alluvial soils along river
banks and deep, somewhat poorly- to well-drained soils are the
best for sugar cane cultivation. Other sites with less favorable
characteristics are also being used, especially for the black
Chinese variety that appears to be more adaptable to a number of
soil conditions.
Other factors that farmers claim they consider in site
selection are access to water for processing or proximity to the
nearest processing facility. To save on labor, some farmers are
using old rice fields, as long as these have characteristics
favorable for sugar cane growth..



Land preparation and methods of cultivation:
After site selection, the next step in sugar cane cultivation
is land preparation. This involves brushing, felling, burning,
and clearing. In the event that an old rice field is used, only
brushing and burning need be done. The planting period depends on
the location. In river bottoms and very swampy areas, planting is
done about January to avoid standing water. In drier locations,
planting should coincide with the beginning of the rains.
However, this places the land preparation and planting of sugar
cane in conflict with those same operations for upland rice, the
priority crop. This suggests sugar cane operations would be
delayed, which farmers agreed often happened in reality. The
methods of planting again seem common throughout those study
areas growing sugar cane. It consists of first preparing holes
about a foot wide and an inch or two deep, using a hoe. Sugar











cane cuttings (usually taken from the top 2 to 3 feet of the
cane) are then placed horizontally in these holes (one or two
cuttings per hole) and covered with previously dug soil, using
hoes or hands.
After planting, frequent underbrushing is carried out until
harvest time. Few farmers make fences during the growing season
to protect the cane from groundhogs. Due to the perennial nature
of sugar cane and the susceptibility of such fences to termite
damage, their use is limited to the first cane crop. Thereafter,
a new fence has to be made each year. This is probably one reason
why most farmers ignore the fencing operation.



Varieties grown:
All farmers interviewed growing sugar cane recognize only two
varieties: the local yellow type and the black Chinese variety.
Farmers report that the local variety takes about a year to reach
maturity after the first planting, produces more sugar juice
(commonly called "beer" by local farmers), but does not
necessarily produce more alcohol (commonly called "cane juice").
However, farmers claim that the local variety is difficult to
harvest and can be harvested only once a year. The Chinese
variety, according to farmers, is ready for harvest in 7 8
months.'Farmers reported that it has the additional advantage of
being more adaptable to a variety of soil conditions, is less
difficult to harvest because of its erect growing habits and can
be harvested twice a year. It also appears that it is less
favored by groundhogs since it produces harder stems than the
local variety. Some farmers, however, do not hold this view. At
least two farmers interviewed also claim that the Chinese variety
yields more cane juice from each drum of beer distilled. They
attribute this to their observation that a drum full of beer from
the local variety has a higher percentage of water, particularly
during the wet season, than the Chinese type.



Harvesting and processing techniques:
According to the sugar cane farmers interviewed, harvests from
the ratoon crop may continue for as long as ten years or more.
However, because farmers make no attempt to maintain soil
fertility, yields tend to decline progressively from the first
year. Most farmers are harvesting only 3 or 4 times from the
ratoon crop after which they have to find a new site. Frequent
interplantings within the first few years are also reported.
The harvesting method practiced by farmers consists of cutting
each cane as close as possible to the base using a cutlass and
then removing the top 2 to 3 feet for subsequent planting. The
lower sugary stem is then tied into bunches and transported to
the milling site where juice extraction by crushing begins as
soon as is feasible.











The processing technique for alcohol, the major reason for
which farmers grow sugar cane, consists essentially of three
steps: crushing the cane to remove the juice, fermenting the
juice, and distilling for alcohol. The first operation is done by
a hand or a motor-operated mill. Many farmers are using the
former hand-operated type. The fermenting process is accomplished
by souring the crushed juice in drums made partially air-tight by
covering with leaves, thatch, or other appropriate material.
Farmers report that they use a minimal amount of yeast to speed
up the fermentation process. After fermentation, distillation
follows. This involves heating the fermented juice in a
distilling pot and gradually cooling the volatile vapor using
long pipes that meander from the distilling pot through a cooling
apparatus (often a drum full of water) to a collecting container.
The liquefied volatile material is ethyl alcohol (CH30H), which
is a favorite intoxicating drink for many Liberians.
Farmers interviewed report that for every drum of fermented
juice, two to two and one half demijohns (5 gallon container) of
alcohol are obtained. For farmers renting the processing
facilities of another, one-fourth to two-fifths of this yield
must be given to the owner of the processing facilities. Some
farmers pay this fee on the basis of fermented juice, for which
one drum for every three is a common fee.



Sugar cane growing strategies:
In all surveyed areas, two primary strategies for growing
sugar cane seem to be employed. First cane can be planted in
separate fields sparsely intercropped with corn, banana,
plantain, and other crops. Second, sugar cane can be intercropped
in the rice field with other crops as well. Another labor-saving
strategy also practiced is the use of old rice fields for sugar
cane cultivation. This eliminates a number of steps associated
with pre-planting operations. The strategy practiced depends on a
number of factors. No strategy seems to be exclusively practiced
in any one area.


G.2. Groundnuts:

The cultivation of groundnuts is found to be restricted to the
study areas of Bong and Nimba, and cultivation methods and
strategies seem similar for both counties.



Site selection:
The common tradition found among farmers growing groundnuts is
to cultivate it as a second crop after rice. This seems logical
since groundnuts, being a legume, are not too demanding of
nitrogen, the nutrient most required and easily depleted under











county but it is only occasionally grown by small farmers.


G. Livestock:

Husbandry patterns in Nimba are similar to those found in
Grand Gedeh. Compared to Grand Gedeh villages, villages in Nimba
seem to have a few more sheep, about the same number of goats and
chickens, a few less cattle, and many more pigs. Pigs are cited
as an important source of meat for feeding kuus.


H. Other Sources of Income:

In Nimba, the opportunities for off-farm employment seem
greater than for Grand Gedeh, but perhaps somewhat less than in
Bong. Palm wine is sold, but perhaps less than along the highway
in Bong. The sale of wild meat remains important, but less so
than in Grand Gedeh. Migration, crafts, fishing, farm labor and
money sent from relatives are additional sources of income. Farm
laborers receive about $2 a day on average.

I. Marketing in Nimba County:

Marketing Cooperatives are more prevalent in Nimba than in
Grand Gedeh. Although they are relatively ineffective in
providing marketing services to farmers, the coops do provide
some limited services. Compared to Grand Gedeh, it seems that
farmers in Nimba have better marketing access. The road
conditions are better. There are more major market centers,
probably due to a higher population density and the prevalence of
larger towns and villages. The LPMC sub-buying center in Ganta
provides marketing services to farmers and farmers' cooperatives.
Some of the FDA's sponsored by NCRDP are also beginning to take
on some of the responsibility for marketing farmers cash crops.
In spite of all of the above, Mandingo traders appear to have
a monopsony on produce buying in Nimba. The Mandingo and their
sub-agents seem to be more organized and have established some
informal but relatively efficient produce buying networks in the
Nimba area of study.


J. Credit in Nimba County:

In Nimba, village credit associations (banks) are commonly
found and serve as important credit sources. Compared to Grand
Gedeh, it appears that there are more and better organized credit
clubs, perhaps because susus are more traditional in Nimba. As in
Grand Gedeh, credit club interest rates are high (i.e., usually
the repayment is 125 percent to 150 percent of the loan amount
for a three month period).
The presence of the Nimba County Rural Development Project











county but it is only occasionally grown by small farmers.


G. Livestock:

Husbandry patterns in Nimba are similar to those found in
Grand Gedeh. Compared to Grand Gedeh villages, villages in Nimba
seem to have a few more sheep, about the same number of goats and
chickens, a few less cattle, and many more pigs. Pigs are cited
as an important source of meat for feeding kuus.


H. Other Sources of Income:

In Nimba, the opportunities for off-farm employment seem
greater than for Grand Gedeh, but perhaps somewhat less than in
Bong. Palm wine is sold, but perhaps less than along the highway
in Bong. The sale of wild meat remains important, but less so
than in Grand Gedeh. Migration, crafts, fishing, farm labor and
money sent from relatives are additional sources of income. Farm
laborers receive about $2 a day on average.

I. Marketing in Nimba County:

Marketing Cooperatives are more prevalent in Nimba than in
Grand Gedeh. Although they are relatively ineffective in
providing marketing services to farmers, the coops do provide
some limited services. Compared to Grand Gedeh, it seems that
farmers in Nimba have better marketing access. The road
conditions are better. There are more major market centers,
probably due to a higher population density and the prevalence of
larger towns and villages. The LPMC sub-buying center in Ganta
provides marketing services to farmers and farmers' cooperatives.
Some of the FDA's sponsored by NCRDP are also beginning to take
on some of the responsibility for marketing farmers cash crops.
In spite of all of the above, Mandingo traders appear to have
a monopsony on produce buying in Nimba. The Mandingo and their
sub-agents seem to be more organized and have established some
informal but relatively efficient produce buying networks in the
Nimba area of study.


J. Credit in Nimba County:

In Nimba, village credit associations (banks) are commonly
found and serve as important credit sources. Compared to Grand
Gedeh, it appears that there are more and better organized credit
clubs, perhaps because susus are more traditional in Nimba. As in
Grand Gedeh, credit club interest rates are high (i.e., usually
the repayment is 125 percent to 150 percent of the loan amount
for a three month period).
The presence of the Nimba County Rural Development Project











county but it is only occasionally grown by small farmers.


G. Livestock:

Husbandry patterns in Nimba are similar to those found in
Grand Gedeh. Compared to Grand Gedeh villages, villages in Nimba
seem to have a few more sheep, about the same number of goats and
chickens, a few less cattle, and many more pigs. Pigs are cited
as an important source of meat for feeding kuus.


H. Other Sources of Income:

In Nimba, the opportunities for off-farm employment seem
greater than for Grand Gedeh, but perhaps somewhat less than in
Bong. Palm wine is sold, but perhaps less than along the highway
in Bong. The sale of wild meat remains important, but less so
than in Grand Gedeh. Migration, crafts, fishing, farm labor and
money sent from relatives are additional sources of income. Farm
laborers receive about $2 a day on average.

I. Marketing in Nimba County:

Marketing Cooperatives are more prevalent in Nimba than in
Grand Gedeh. Although they are relatively ineffective in
providing marketing services to farmers, the coops do provide
some limited services. Compared to Grand Gedeh, it seems that
farmers in Nimba have better marketing access. The road
conditions are better. There are more major market centers,
probably due to a higher population density and the prevalence of
larger towns and villages. The LPMC sub-buying center in Ganta
provides marketing services to farmers and farmers' cooperatives.
Some of the FDA's sponsored by NCRDP are also beginning to take
on some of the responsibility for marketing farmers cash crops.
In spite of all of the above, Mandingo traders appear to have
a monopsony on produce buying in Nimba. The Mandingo and their
sub-agents seem to be more organized and have established some
informal but relatively efficient produce buying networks in the
Nimba area of study.


J. Credit in Nimba County:

In Nimba, village credit associations (banks) are commonly
found and serve as important credit sources. Compared to Grand
Gedeh, it appears that there are more and better organized credit
clubs, perhaps because susus are more traditional in Nimba. As in
Grand Gedeh, credit club interest rates are high (i.e., usually
the repayment is 125 percent to 150 percent of the loan amount
for a three month period).
The presence of the Nimba County Rural Development Project











county but it is only occasionally grown by small farmers.


G. Livestock:

Husbandry patterns in Nimba are similar to those found in
Grand Gedeh. Compared to Grand Gedeh villages, villages in Nimba
seem to have a few more sheep, about the same number of goats and
chickens, a few less cattle, and many more pigs. Pigs are cited
as an important source of meat for feeding kuus.


H. Other Sources of Income:

In Nimba, the opportunities for off-farm employment seem
greater than for Grand Gedeh, but perhaps somewhat less than in
Bong. Palm wine is sold, but perhaps less than along the highway
in Bong. The sale of wild meat remains important, but less so
than in Grand Gedeh. Migration, crafts, fishing, farm labor and
money sent from relatives are additional sources of income. Farm
laborers receive about $2 a day on average.

I. Marketing in Nimba County:

Marketing Cooperatives are more prevalent in Nimba than in
Grand Gedeh. Although they are relatively ineffective in
providing marketing services to farmers, the coops do provide
some limited services. Compared to Grand Gedeh, it seems that
farmers in Nimba have better marketing access. The road
conditions are better. There are more major market centers,
probably due to a higher population density and the prevalence of
larger towns and villages. The LPMC sub-buying center in Ganta
provides marketing services to farmers and farmers' cooperatives.
Some of the FDA's sponsored by NCRDP are also beginning to take
on some of the responsibility for marketing farmers cash crops.
In spite of all of the above, Mandingo traders appear to have
a monopsony on produce buying in Nimba. The Mandingo and their
sub-agents seem to be more organized and have established some
informal but relatively efficient produce buying networks in the
Nimba area of study.


J. Credit in Nimba County:

In Nimba, village credit associations (banks) are commonly
found and serve as important credit sources. Compared to Grand
Gedeh, it appears that there are more and better organized credit
clubs, perhaps because susus are more traditional in Nimba. As in
Grand Gedeh, credit club interest rates are high (i.e., usually
the repayment is 125 percent to 150 percent of the loan amount
for a three month period).
The presence of the Nimba County Rural Development Project











G. Livestock:

As in the other two counties, the total amount of livestock
observed is quite small. The amount of livestock per village
seems to be similar to Nimba except that there are fewer pigs.


H. Marketing in Bong County:

Markets and marketing channels for both the major and minor
cash crops are comparatively more developed in Bong than in Nimba
and Grand Gedeh. It appears that there are more and relatively
good farm-to-market roads in the Bong area of study.
Because of Bong's proximity to Monrovia, the Bong farmers also
have access to a larger market. City market women and traders
attend the local markets to buy produce for the Monrovia market.
In Bong county, LPMC has an active buying station at Gbarnga.
In addition, the Tungban cooperative is active throughout the
county and is a major produce buying organization. It is
supported by BCADP which also provides other commercial services,
particularly credit to Bong county farmers. There are also
private traders and other local merchants who are involved in the
cocoa, coffee, and rice trade. Despite the existence of Tungban
as a county-wide marketing organization, it appears that Mandingo
still dominate the produce trade much as they do in the other two
counties.


I. Other Sources of Income:

The presence of concessions, estates and/or rubber farms make
off-farm employment more prevalent than in the other counties.
Rapid access to Monrovia via the highway makes the sale of palm
wine an important income generating activity. Wild meat sales
seem somewhat less common in Bong than in Nimba. Fishing,
crafts, farm labor, and money sent from relatives are additional
sources of income for farm families. On the average, Bong farm
laborers receive $2 per day.


J. Credit in Bong County:

Village credit associations (susus) are as common in Bong as
in Nimba. Most of the farmers interviewed during the survey
belong to susus. Additionally, unlike the NCRDP in Nimba, the
BCADP provides development and seasonal loans, and chemical
inputs to farmers in the project area. Due to BCADP programs,
credit facilities seem to be better in Bong than in Nimba and
Grand Gedeh.











G. Livestock:

As in the other two counties, the total amount of livestock
observed is quite small. The amount of livestock per village
seems to be similar to Nimba except that there are fewer pigs.


H. Marketing in Bong County:

Markets and marketing channels for both the major and minor
cash crops are comparatively more developed in Bong than in Nimba
and Grand Gedeh. It appears that there are more and relatively
good farm-to-market roads in the Bong area of study.
Because of Bong's proximity to Monrovia, the Bong farmers also
have access to a larger market. City market women and traders
attend the local markets to buy produce for the Monrovia market.
In Bong county, LPMC has an active buying station at Gbarnga.
In addition, the Tungban cooperative is active throughout the
county and is a major produce buying organization. It is
supported by BCADP which also provides other commercial services,
particularly credit to Bong county farmers. There are also
private traders and other local merchants who are involved in the
cocoa, coffee, and rice trade. Despite the existence of Tungban
as a county-wide marketing organization, it appears that Mandingo
still dominate the produce trade much as they do in the other two
counties.


I. Other Sources of Income:

The presence of concessions, estates and/or rubber farms make
off-farm employment more prevalent than in the other counties.
Rapid access to Monrovia via the highway makes the sale of palm
wine an important income generating activity. Wild meat sales
seem somewhat less common in Bong than in Nimba. Fishing,
crafts, farm labor, and money sent from relatives are additional
sources of income for farm families. On the average, Bong farm
laborers receive $2 per day.


J. Credit in Bong County:

Village credit associations (susus) are as common in Bong as
in Nimba. Most of the farmers interviewed during the survey
belong to susus. Additionally, unlike the NCRDP in Nimba, the
BCADP provides development and seasonal loans, and chemical
inputs to farmers in the project area. Due to BCADP programs,
credit facilities seem to be better in Bong than in Nimba and
Grand Gedeh.











G. Livestock:

As in the other two counties, the total amount of livestock
observed is quite small. The amount of livestock per village
seems to be similar to Nimba except that there are fewer pigs.


H. Marketing in Bong County:

Markets and marketing channels for both the major and minor
cash crops are comparatively more developed in Bong than in Nimba
and Grand Gedeh. It appears that there are more and relatively
good farm-to-market roads in the Bong area of study.
Because of Bong's proximity to Monrovia, the Bong farmers also
have access to a larger market. City market women and traders
attend the local markets to buy produce for the Monrovia market.
In Bong county, LPMC has an active buying station at Gbarnga.
In addition, the Tungban cooperative is active throughout the
county and is a major produce buying organization. It is
supported by BCADP which also provides other commercial services,
particularly credit to Bong county farmers. There are also
private traders and other local merchants who are involved in the
cocoa, coffee, and rice trade. Despite the existence of Tungban
as a county-wide marketing organization, it appears that Mandingo
still dominate the produce trade much as they do in the other two
counties.


I. Other Sources of Income:

The presence of concessions, estates and/or rubber farms make
off-farm employment more prevalent than in the other counties.
Rapid access to Monrovia via the highway makes the sale of palm
wine an important income generating activity. Wild meat sales
seem somewhat less common in Bong than in Nimba. Fishing,
crafts, farm labor, and money sent from relatives are additional
sources of income for farm families. On the average, Bong farm
laborers receive $2 per day.


J. Credit in Bong County:

Village credit associations (susus) are as common in Bong as
in Nimba. Most of the farmers interviewed during the survey
belong to susus. Additionally, unlike the NCRDP in Nimba, the
BCADP provides development and seasonal loans, and chemical
inputs to farmers in the project area. Due to BCADP programs,
credit facilities seem to be better in Bong than in Nimba and
Grand Gedeh.











G. Livestock:

As in the other two counties, the total amount of livestock
observed is quite small. The amount of livestock per village
seems to be similar to Nimba except that there are fewer pigs.


H. Marketing in Bong County:

Markets and marketing channels for both the major and minor
cash crops are comparatively more developed in Bong than in Nimba
and Grand Gedeh. It appears that there are more and relatively
good farm-to-market roads in the Bong area of study.
Because of Bong's proximity to Monrovia, the Bong farmers also
have access to a larger market. City market women and traders
attend the local markets to buy produce for the Monrovia market.
In Bong county, LPMC has an active buying station at Gbarnga.
In addition, the Tungban cooperative is active throughout the
county and is a major produce buying organization. It is
supported by BCADP which also provides other commercial services,
particularly credit to Bong county farmers. There are also
private traders and other local merchants who are involved in the
cocoa, coffee, and rice trade. Despite the existence of Tungban
as a county-wide marketing organization, it appears that Mandingo
still dominate the produce trade much as they do in the other two
counties.


I. Other Sources of Income:

The presence of concessions, estates and/or rubber farms make
off-farm employment more prevalent than in the other counties.
Rapid access to Monrovia via the highway makes the sale of palm
wine an important income generating activity. Wild meat sales
seem somewhat less common in Bong than in Nimba. Fishing,
crafts, farm labor, and money sent from relatives are additional
sources of income for farm families. On the average, Bong farm
laborers receive $2 per day.


J. Credit in Bong County:

Village credit associations (susus) are as common in Bong as
in Nimba. Most of the farmers interviewed during the survey
belong to susus. Additionally, unlike the NCRDP in Nimba, the
BCADP provides development and seasonal loans, and chemical
inputs to farmers in the project area. Due to BCADP programs,
credit facilities seem to be better in Bong than in Nimba and
Grand Gedeh.












E. Other Field Crops:

Groundnuts and sugar cane are additional sources of crop
diversity in Bong County. In some villages surveyed, groundnuts
appear to be an important secondary crop and are commonly present
either as an intercrop with cassava or in separate pure stands.
In other villages, groundnuts are cultivated by very few farmers
or are not present at all. Sugar cane is frequently grown by a
few farmers in each village. Cane juice may be produced primarily
for a local market or oriented towards the Monrovia market
depending on the location and size of each operation.


F. Tree Crops:

Cocoa is an important cash crop in Bong County. In one case a
farmer claimed his family had been growing it for over 30 years.
Coffee, on the other hand, appears to be considerably less common
than in the other counties, and of fairly recent origins. Many of
the coffee growers have only planted coffee since the BCADP began
providing seedlings about 5 years ago. The BCADP provides loans
to develop coffee and cocoa fields and to hire labor for
underbrushing during the first two years. Project agents advise
farmers on site selection, but farmers complain that in the past
these agents have not always been successful in choosing the
right sites for cocoa. Project supported cooperatives also have
an important impact on marketing alternatives.
Banana and plantain are important secondary tree crops which
are both intercropped with rice and grown in pure stands. Citrus
is somewhat more important in Bong than in the other two
counties. This is probably due to the access to city markets
afforded by the Monrovia-Ganta highway. Oranges are the most
common type of citrus grown followed by grapefruit and
tangerines. Grapefruit are less favored than oranges because the
trees are reputed to be short-lived and because grapefruit
generally will not sell while oranges are available. Since
grapefruit can remain on the tree for a considerable period
without spoiling, they are often held until the orange season is
over.
As in Grand Gedeh, oil palm is not cultivated by small farmers
but wild oil palm is exploited for both consumption and cash
income. Rubber is a very important cash crop in Bong county
because of the concentration of concessions and private estates
which grow it. Following this lead, more small farmers have
adopted rubber as a cash crop than in the other two counties. The
number and distribution of concessions and estates which are
willing to buy latex or cuplumps makes marketing of rubber more
practical than in other areas surveyed. Many farmers do and/or
have worked on rubber estates in the past. This experience
provides them with a source of knowledge about rubber cultivation
practices and access to seed.












E. Other Field Crops:

Groundnuts and sugar cane are additional sources of crop
diversity in Bong County. In some villages surveyed, groundnuts
appear to be an important secondary crop and are commonly present
either as an intercrop with cassava or in separate pure stands.
In other villages, groundnuts are cultivated by very few farmers
or are not present at all. Sugar cane is frequently grown by a
few farmers in each village. Cane juice may be produced primarily
for a local market or oriented towards the Monrovia market
depending on the location and size of each operation.


F. Tree Crops:

Cocoa is an important cash crop in Bong County. In one case a
farmer claimed his family had been growing it for over 30 years.
Coffee, on the other hand, appears to be considerably less common
than in the other counties, and of fairly recent origins. Many of
the coffee growers have only planted coffee since the BCADP began
providing seedlings about 5 years ago. The BCADP provides loans
to develop coffee and cocoa fields and to hire labor for
underbrushing during the first two years. Project agents advise
farmers on site selection, but farmers complain that in the past
these agents have not always been successful in choosing the
right sites for cocoa. Project supported cooperatives also have
an important impact on marketing alternatives.
Banana and plantain are important secondary tree crops which
are both intercropped with rice and grown in pure stands. Citrus
is somewhat more important in Bong than in the other two
counties. This is probably due to the access to city markets
afforded by the Monrovia-Ganta highway. Oranges are the most
common type of citrus grown followed by grapefruit and
tangerines. Grapefruit are less favored than oranges because the
trees are reputed to be short-lived and because grapefruit
generally will not sell while oranges are available. Since
grapefruit can remain on the tree for a considerable period
without spoiling, they are often held until the orange season is
over.
As in Grand Gedeh, oil palm is not cultivated by small farmers
but wild oil palm is exploited for both consumption and cash
income. Rubber is a very important cash crop in Bong county
because of the concentration of concessions and private estates
which grow it. Following this lead, more small farmers have
adopted rubber as a cash crop than in the other two counties. The
number and distribution of concessions and estates which are
willing to buy latex or cuplumps makes marketing of rubber more
practical than in other areas surveyed. Many farmers do and/or
have worked on rubber estates in the past. This experience
provides them with a source of knowledge about rubber cultivation
practices and access to seed.











palm wine is sold by many farmers, especially those in
close proximity to urban centers.

7. Several farmers are manufacturing items such as wicker
chairs and mats for sale.

Recommendations:

1. Research should focus on the feasibility of
introducing alternative cash crops into the system.
Careful consideration should be given to the marketing
potential for the various proposed crops.

2. Ways of improving the earning capacity of existing
cash crops should be encouraged. Three areas of
inquiry might include: 1) improved pricing policies
for coffee and cocoa, 2) improved processing
techniques with greater emphasis on grading; and 3)
improved marketing channels with wider distribution of
buying centers.

3. Village credit associations (susu) should be carefully
studied. Those which are successful may provide models
for introducing this concept in other areas.

II. Crop Specific Constraints and Areas of Investigation:

A. Upland Rice:

Constraints:

1. Pests and Diseases

a. Groundhogs:

Without question, groundhogs are identified as
the major pest attacking upland rice in all
three counties surveyed. Groundhog problems are
most severe on farms located in secondary bush.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Farmers will locate their farms in isolated
high bush away from secondary bush where
groundhogs are prevalent.

2. Many farmers build fences around their upland
rice fields to keep groundhogs out. This is
especially true in areas dominated by
secondary bush.


3. Traps are often placed along fences to catch











groundhogs .

4. Some farmers opt to make large farms without
fences rather than small farms with fences as
a way to deal with groundhogs.

5. Some farmers believe that groundhogs are more
attracted to cassava than to rice and will
deliberately not plant cassava in a rice
field.

6. Some farmers will not put their rice fields
near sugar cane fields because of the
groundhog's attraction to sugar cane.

7. Some farmers leave an open space between
their field and the surrounding bush.

8. Some farmers rely on dogs.

Recommendations:

1. Alternative fencing techniques should be
investigated to identify those which are
feasible and cost effective. For example,
chicken wire and battery-powered electric
fences like those being tried in Grand Gedeh
should be studied as possibilities. The
effects of having a cleared space between the
bush and the fenced field should also be
considered.

2. Research should focus on the possibility of
using chemical repellants and poisons as
deterrents to groundhogs. For example,
repellants are sometimes used to keep animals
out of fields and gardens in other countries.
An artificial leopard scent might be one good
possibility. As for poisons, caution should
be exercised in prescribing substances that
are harmful to humans and other animals.

3. Literature reviews and further study on the
life cycle and feeding habits of the
groundhog may give researchers insights into
ways of approaching the problem. For
instance, some farmers believe that
groundhogs have differential preferences for
rice varieties.











b. Birds:

Birds are a serious constraint for upland rice
production, especially in areas with extensive
secondary bush. The two periods that bird
problems are most severe are right after
planting and during the stage when the rice is
heading.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Many farmers have adopted rice planting
strategies to adjust to bird problems. They
will not plant their short-maturing varieties
first because they would mature before the
rest of the field and would be prime targets
for bird attack. For this reason, farmers
will plant their long-maturing varieties
first and their short-maturing varieties
last.

2. Scaring birds is done by most farm family
members, especially children. Rock slings are
normally used right after planting. (In one
case a bow and arrow are being used). When
the rice is heading, ropes with can-rattles
on them are often distributed throughout the
field and periodically shaken to scare birds.

3. Some farmers are using bird nets in their
fields that they acquired from projects. Some
dissatisfaction has been expressed about the
effectiveness of such nets because they are
cumbersome and bats can tear them up when
they get caught in them at night.

4. In some villages, farmers are using poisoned
rice scattered on their fields to kill birds.
Although effective, the hazards of eating
poisoned birds are not well understood by
farmers and could have severe consequences.

5. Some farmers have identified some rice
varieties with long awns which are somewhat
bird resistant.

Recommendations:

1. Rice breeders should examine the feasibility
of incorporating bird resistant traits into
improved rice varieties. Local varieties with
long awns have been identified by farmers as











being somewhat bird resistant.
Investigations could possibly begin with
these varieties.

2. As stated earlier, farmers have identified
the use of poisoned rice as an effective
means of bird control. However, the
ecological effects of such practices should
be examined before advocating its widespread
use. Alternative low residual poisons should
be screened as possibilities.

c. Termites

Many farmers have identified termites as a
serious pest attacking their rice. They
presently have no effective means of dealing
with the problem.

Recommendation:

Research should be conducted on various means of
controlling termites. One possibility is the
use of chemicals. However, the cost may be
prohibitive for most small farmers.
d. Rats:

Rats are a serious pest which attack the rice
while it is in storage in the kitchen. Some
storage experts estimate that as much as 10
percent of the rice stored in kitchens is lost
every year to rats and other minor pests.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Many farmers will build traps in their
kitchens to catch rats.

2. Some farmers keep cats around to control rat
populations.

3. A few farmers are presently using rat poison
to kill rats.

Recommendation:

1. Work should continue on designing kitchens
that control rats and are inexpensive.
Efforts towards the development of
alternative storage facilities should be
intensified.











2. Caution should be exercised in advocating
poisons for rat control.

e. Diseases: (false smut, blast, brown leaf spot)

Although rice diseases are present in farmers'
fields, farmers have difficulty in identifying
these specifically. For this reason, no specific
compensating strategies are expressed.

Recommendations:

1. Research aimed at rice selection should
continue to focus on disease resistant
varieties.

2. Projects and extension services should
initiate efforts to educate farmers as to the
recognition of rice diseases in their fields
and appropriate techniques for dealing with
these diseases.

2. Weeding:

Weeding is a serious constraint to production,
especially in secondary bush.

Compensating Strategies:

1. In Nimba and Bong counties, farmers will hoe
weeds as they are planting their rice, all in the
same process. In fact, some farmers will
deliberately let the weeds grow before hoeing so
that weeding after planting will require less
effort.

2. To avoid weeds as well as low soil fertility
levels, farmers will shift to high bush if it is
available.

3. If weeds are a serious problem, farmers may join
weeding kuus or hire labor to do the weeding.

Recommendation:

Studies should be conducted on the effectiveness and
cost of using herbicides for weed control. The
trade-offs between hired labor and herbicides should
be considered in such studies. The availability of
the product to small farmers should be investigated
as well. In addition, some attention should be given
to the effects of post-emergence selective











herbicides on intercrops.

3. Soil Fertility:

As previously stated, low soil fertility due to
excessive leaching, erosion and low pH forces
farmers to follow a shifting cultivation pattern.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Farmers shift to new areas every year to make
upland rice farms.

2. Farmers plant cassava in rice fields to utilize
the cleared field a second year. Cassava is ideal
for this purpose because of its low nitrogen
requirements and its better utilization of
potassium and phosphorous.

Recommendations:

1. As stated earlier, research should attempt to
identify the most appropriate crop rotation
systems for given areas. The integration of
nitrogen fixing legumes as rotation crops or
intercrops should be considered. In addition, the
economics of such rotation systems should be
studied.

2. Experiments on minimum tillage practices should
continue, and other erosion control measures
should be considered.

3. As mentioned previously, limited use of
fertilizers may be a viable option when
economically feasible and readily available.
Along with imported chemical fertilizers, the use
of composts, manures and other indigenous
materials like rock phosphate should be
investigated.

4. Research should focus on the possibility of
introducing managed fallow using legumes as a
substitute for natural fallow.

4. Other Areas of Investigation for Upland Rice:

a. Upland Rice Planting Methods:

Two different planting methods have been
identified in this survey. In Grand Gedeh,
farmers plant by using a dibbling method, which









94

involves digging holes with a cutlass or
dibbling tool and dropping seeds in the hole. In
Nimba and Bong, rice is broadcast and then
scratched with a hoe.

Recommendation:

Research should be initiated to compare the
dibbling and scratching methods of planting to
determine their effect on plant density, weed
population, soil degradation, labor demand, ease
of intercropping and yield.

b. Intercropping Rice with Other Crops:

Farmers in all areas surveyed are planting a
number of different crops with rice.

Recommendation:

Research should be conducted on the advantages
and disadvantages of intercropping other crops
with rice. Different spacing and timing
strategies should be considered.
c. Multiple Varieties of Rice Being Planted:

Almost every farmer interviewed is planting more
than one variety of rice. Both short-maturing
and long-maturing varieties are being planted in
the same field.

Recommendation:

There appear to be other popular local varieties
that according to some farmers may be more
productive than the recommended varieties. These
varieties should be screened and compared with
those presently recommended (e.g. Desemah in
Grand Gedeh and Nakatuwa in Nimba). On-farm
trials on varietal performance within present
farming systems should be conducted.

B. Cassava:

Constraints:

1. Pests and Diseases:

a. Groundhogs:

As with rice, groundhogs are a serious
constraint for cassava production. In fact, some











farmers believe that groundhogs are more
attracted to cassava than they are to rice. The
compensating strategies that farmers follow are
the same as those for rice, especially since
cassava is usually planted in the rice field.
As for recommendations, the suggestions given
earlier for upland rice groundhog problems are
applicable here.

b. Cassava Mosaic and Bacterial Blight:

Although cassava mosaic is found in every field
surveyed, farmers do not recognize it as a
disease. Similarly, some blight has been
observed, but farmers do not talk about it as a
problem either. It is obvious from our survey
that cassava diseases are not readily recognized
by farmers.

Recommendations:

1. Multi-locational trials of disease resistant
varieties should continue. If these
researcher managed trials prove successful,
their performance in farmers' cropping
systems should also be tested in on-farm
trials.

2. Projects and extension services should
educate farmers on how to recognize cassava
diseases in their fields, and teach them
appropriate techniques for dealing with these
diseases.

2. Other Areas of Investigation for Cassava:

a. Spacing and Timing of Planting of Cassava in
Relation to Rice:

There are four alternative strategies for
growing cassava in relation to rice.
Intercropping patterns include: (1) planting
cassava with wide spacing before the rice; (2)
planting cassava at the same time as the rice
and stripping leaves to reduce shading; (3)
planting cassava three to four weeks after the
rice to avoid shading; and (4) planting cassava
as a relay crop after the rice is harvested
permitting denser planting. Cassava also is
sometimes planted in separate fields and
occasionally intercropped with other crops.









96

Recommendation:

The spacing and timing of planting of cassava in
relation to rice should be investigated to
determine its effects on both crops. Possibly
land equivalent ratios could be used to measure
these effects.

b. Stripping Leaves and Lower Branches
of Young Plants to Avoid Shading:

Farmers in Nimba and some areas of Bong will
strip the leaves and lower branches of young
cassava plants to prevent the cassava from
shading the rice.

Recommendation:

Research should be conducted to determine the
effects of stripping the leaves and lower
branches of young cassava plants. These effects
would include cassava performance and yields as
well as interactions with rice. This work could
be incorporated into on-going experiments on
leaf harvesting.

c. Intercrops with Cassava Other than Rice:

Some farmers are intercropping cassava with
other crops such as peanuts, sweet potatoes, and
even coffee.

Recommendation:

Research should be initiated on identifying
various potential crops that can be intercropped
with cassava. One possible focus could be on
cover-crops that not only cut down on
underbrushing but also provide a second product.

C. Swamp Rice:

Improved Rice Swamp Rice Constraints:

1. Labor Availability:

One of the major constraints for farmers interested
in incorporating improved swamp rice into their
present cropping systems is the added labor required
to construct and maintain the swamp. These labor
demands can compete adversely with the labor
requirements of upland rice farming.











Compensating Strategies:

1. To deal with these additional labor requirements,
farmers may opt to build smaller swamp fields
than those proposed by project personnel.

2. Some farmers will hire labor to build or maintain
their swamp farm if they have the means.

3. Some farmers may intentionally neglect other
cropping activities like underbrushing cocoa of
coffee to meet the labor requirements of improved
swamp farming.

Recommendations:

1. As stated previously, research should be
conducted on the economics of combining improved
swamp rice farming with upland rice and other
farming activities.

2. Cost-effect labor saving techniques and
technologies should be identified to help reduce
the labor demands of swamp farming.

3. Possibly one way to deal with the competing labor
demands of swamp farming is to encourage farmers
to delay swamp farming activities until the
upland activities are completed. This would only
be possible for those farmers with year round
access to water. This could be accomplished with
better water control techniques.

2. Other Constraints to Improved Swamp Rice Farming:

In addition to the added labor demands, a number of
other reasons can be cited as to why farmers are
reluctant to commit themselves to improved swamp
rice farming. These include:

Capital Investment Required Many farmers cannot
afford the added costs of building and maintaining
improved swamps. Even though loans are often given
by projects to farmers to help defray the costs,
farmers have some difficulty paying back the loans
and absorbing the necessary costs of yearly
maintenance.

Inability to Intercrop Some farmers indicate that
one of the main reasons why they do not abandon
upland farming and shift completely to swamp rice
farming is because they cannot intercrop vegetables











and tubers in the swamp. For this reason, they
continue to plant upland fields as well as swamp
fields, despite the conflicting labor demands.

Fear of Disease Some farmers are concerned that
working in swampy water will expose them to diseases
such as schistosomiasis. To counteract this fear,
some projects have created schistosomiaisis
monitoring units to check for and treat possible
infections. Despite the existence of such units,
some farmers still are apprehensive about working in
swamps.

Management Experience Many farmers lack management
experience with water control and therefore may not
be as successful in swamp rice farming as they could
be.

Cost of Chemical Inputs Many of the chemical
inputs used in swamp farming are costly and/or not
available to small farmers, reducing the opportunity
for achieving substantial yield increases. Without
such yield increases, farmers have little incentive
to leave upland farming.

Cultural Traditions Farmers in many areas are not
accustomed to swamp farming as part of their
traditional farming system. This could make it
difficult for them to readily accept the practice.

Recommendation:

Areas where improved swamp rice farming has been
successfully adopted should be carefully studied to
determine what factors have contributed to its
success.

3. Other Areas of Investigation for Swamp Rice:

Recommendation:

Four possible swamp rice research topics worth
investigating include:
1. The use of nitrogen fixing aquatic plants.
2. The use of limited chemical inputs.
3. The effects of cutting back rice to deal with
lodging (e.g. Gissi 27).
4. The agronomic aspects of varietal performance.











D. Tree Crops:

1. Cocoa and Coffee:

Constraints:

a. Pests and Diseases:

Stem borers:

Farmers in all three counties identified stem
borers as a severe constraint to both coffee and
cocoa. The larvae attack both the branches and
stems of the tree, killing the infested part or
the whole tree.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Some farmers will remove the branch of the
tree that is infested.

2. One farmer's strategy for dealing with the
pest is to stick a long twig in the hole of
entry to kill the larvae.

Recommendations:

1. The practice of pruning and destroying
infested branches and stems as a means of
control of stem borers should be encouraged
by extension personnel.

2. Proper and timely underbrushing may help
prevent the incidence of stem borer
infestation.

3. Research should be conducted to identify
other potential hosts which may harbor stem
borers (i.e., possibly kola trees in cocoa
and coffee fields).

4. The economic feasibility of using
insecticides as a preventive measure or
treatment should be investigated.

Termites:

Many farmers have problems with termites
attacking their cocoa and coffee. They presently
have no effective means of dealing with the
pest.









100


Recommendation:

As stated earlier, research should be conducted
on ways of controlling termites by using cost-
effective chemicals.

Red Ants:

Although red ants do limited damage to the cocoa
and coffee trees themselves, they are a severe
harvesting constraint to the farmer. If the tree
being harvested is infested, the red ants will
attack the cocoa or coffee picker. Their sting
is extremely painful, and could discourage
farmers from practicing careful harvesting
techniques.

Compensating Strategy:

1. To avoid excessive stinging, coffee pickers
will strip all of the mature and immature
berries from the branch at once, rather than
selectively picking the ripe berries. This
practice probably lowers the quality of the
coffee being sold by the farmer.

Recommendation:

The ecological effects of eliminating red ants
should be investigated before proposing control
methods. It is possible that red ants might have
some beneficial effect on the trees which
presently is not well understood.

Wild and Domestic Animals: (cocoa only)

Farmers in all three counties indicated .that
both wild and domestic animals pose a constraint
to cocoa production. Squirrels are a common
problem found in all areas, whereas monkeys,
lemurs and chimpanzees are a serious problem
only in Grand Gedeh. As for domestic animals,
goats and pigs are a problem in most areas,
while in Grand Gedeh, cattle are also a problem
in some villages.

Recommendation:

Farmers should continue to build fences to
protect their cocoa from domestic animals.
Although hunting is presently being used by
farmers to control wild animals, alternative








101


means should be sought which are less
destructive to existing wildlife populations.

Black Pod: (cocoa only)

Black pod is a serious constraint to cocoa
production. The disease is prevalent in all
three counties surveyed.

Compensating Strategy:

Some farmers will destroy the infected pod once
it is detected on the tree. However, they rarely
remove the infected pod from the area.

Recommendations:

1. Research should be conducted on means to
control black pod disease.

2. The possibility of identifying or developing
black pod resistant varieties of cocoa should
be pursued.

b. Underbrushing:

Farmers often cannot meet the labor demands
necessary for proper and timely underbrushing of
their cocoa and/or coffee. Consequently, bush
over-growth seriously lowers production.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Some farmers will hire labor to underbrush
their trees.

2. Many farmers join kuu work groups to
underbrush each others' trees.

3. Farmers will often plant their cocoa and/or
coffee in old rice fields to reduce the work
required in initial brushing and
underbrushing.

4. Many farmers deliberately plant cocoa and
coffee more densely than recommended with a
strategy to develop a shade canopy to reduce
underbrushing.

Recommendations:

1. The use of possible cover-crops for cocoa and











coffee should be researched.

2. Research should continue on the use of food
intercrops planted between the cocoa
seedlings (e.g. plantain and/or banana).

c. Site Selection:

Selecting a good site for planting cocoa and/or
coffee is often difficult for farmers,
especially those who have little experience in
growing tree crops. Many times, trees are
planted in inappropriate areas.

Compensating Strategies:

1. Some farmers will experiment by planting a
few seeds or seedlings in an area where they
want to put a cocoa or coffee field. If the
seedlings do well (after 6 months to a year),
they will plant the rest of the area in
seedlings.

2. According to farmers, old town sites are good
locations for planting cocoa and/or coffee.
This strategy makes sense considering the
fact that such areas are usually rich in
humus.

3. Some farmers select sites for tree crops on
the basis of how well their rice did in a
field the previous year. They believe that if
the rice did well, then the tree crop will
also do well.

Recommendation:

Research should be conducted on the suitability
of different soil types for coffee and cocoa.

d. Other Areas of Investigation
for Cocoa and Coffee

1. Spacing:

Farmers are planting their trees using closer
spacing intervals than those usually
recommended. Some farmers do this systematically
and others do it without measuring the spacing.








103


Recommendations:

1. Additional research on the appropriate
spacing of cocoa and coffee should be
conducted.

2. The effects of planting trees more closely
than presently recommended should be studied.
This study should take into account the
economic trade-offs between underbrushing
cost savings and potential yield loss. This
is an appropriate topic for on-farm research.

2. Other Tree Crops (Citrus Oranges, Grapefruit, and
Tangerines)

Constraints:

a. Seasonality: (Oranges)

One problem facing farmers who grow oranges and
wish to market them is that the types of oranges
grown in the area tend to mature all at the same
time of the year (October through December).
This results in an over-abundance of oranges on
the market during this time period, lowering the
price that farmers receive for their fruit.
Farmers do not have storage facilities, so they
are forced to sell at this reduced rate.

Recommendation:

To overcome this problem of seasonality,
research should continue to identify possible
varieties that might bear year-round or bear at
different times of the year.

General Recommendation for Other Tree Crops:

Citrus and oil palm should be considered as
alternative cash crops to cocoa and coffee. Such
diversity may help alleviate some of the risk
associated with fluctuating world markets.











rubber in the more valuable latex form. They may not be
knowledgeable about rubber grading and subsequent pricing, but
until recently, most have had little or no alternative as to
where they may sell. Farmers are very suspicious about the
prices they receive and tend to feel that the buyer is taking
advantage of them. A new rubber marketing agency program called
the Rubber Corporation of Liberia (RCL) has been established to
collect rubber from small producers. This program will hopefully
help small farmers receive better prices.
The only disease or pest of mature rubber trees mentioned by
farmers is a type of borer described a "the rubber worm".
Termites and other animals (possibly groundhogs) do attack
seedlings.
The possibility of small farmers using a cover crop like kudzu
should be explored to reduce underbrushing. In addition, the
potential for incorporating rubber in cropping patterns using
alley cropping techniques should be investigated.


I. Livestock:

Raising livestock does not appear to be an important part of
the farming systems in the areas surveyed. Farmers claim that
they own few animals and few animals were observed around the
villages. Why so few animals are present is really not clear.
Certainly disease and the lack of veterinary services is a
serious problem. But if health problems could be controlled the
potential for raising livestock would appear to be quite good.
Several social factors may also be important constraints. First,
farmers do not have a strong husbandry tradition so that the risk
of livestock dying is high. Second, it would appear that private
ownership of livestock is not completely respected. On occasion,
a villager may grab any animal available to meet an important
social obligation. Such factors may discourage investment in
livestock.


I.1. General Husbandry Patterns:

Farmers tend to leave animals alone to fend for themselves.
They roam the village uncontrolled, except for the use of fences
and gates to prevent them from wandering too far down the road.
Some farmers also put a gate on the path to their fields to
discourage animals from wandering in that direction. Given this
lack of control, farmers may not see their animals from one day
to the next, or even every week in some cases. This is probably
the reason that farmers often do not know why an animal died and
probably why farmers do not recognize many disease symptoms. A
few farmers have been observed feeding livestock cassava or
leaves as a means to induce them to return to the house. This
reduces the risk of their wandering off and allows the farmer a
chance to observe them.











The freedom of livestock to roam does have an important effect
on the spatial pattern of crops. Farmers are unwilling to plant
field crops near the village because they would be destroyed by
the livestock. Thus, even where land is not a constraint, most
farmers walk 30 minutes or longer to get to their rice field.
Tree crops like cocoa and coffee are often planted near the
village, but cocoa in particular is subject to livestock damage.
Pods near the ground are often eaten, and even higher pods may be
endangered if cattle are present. Livestock problems tend to be
more noticeable around large villages, because they have more
livestock and are more likely to have cattle.
Animals are used primarily as a ready source of income, a
source of meat for feeding kuus, and as a means of meeting social
obligations. For example, in Grand Gedeh, the bride price is
still often paid at least partially in animals. Animals might
also be killed on other important social occasions such as
weddings, funerals, or the visit of a son or daughter from the
city.


1.2. Goats:

Other than chickens, goats are the animals most consistently
found in villages. Except in Nimba, farmers usually owned more
goats than sheep, pigs, or cattle. One of the diseases observed
in goats is a form of blindness in which the center of the eyes
turns white (perhaps contagious conjunctivitis). A skin disease
called "zeh" affects sheep and goats where animals lose hair and
develop warty growths around the mouth and on other parts of the
body (perhaps mange or scabies).


1.3. Sheep

Sheep are commonly found in villages except in part of Grand
Gedeh where "zeh" is endemic. Farmers say that the disease
affects sheep more than goats and is so bad that they do not try
to raise sheep. In one village, farmers inspect all sheep brought
to the village and will not allow any sheep infected with "zeh"
to enter.


1.4. Pigs:

Pigs are found throughout the three counties but are
especially numerous in Nimba. Farmers say that they are
particularly useful for feeding kuus since there is more meat on
a pig than on a sheep or goat. The only pig disease described is
diarrhea which kills piglets.








80

K. Food Consumption:

Fish is the most common meat source for most farm families in
Bong. In addition to fresh water fish, dried marine fish from
Monrovia is often purchased in local markets. Fish also is a
common meat used to feed kuus. Wild meat, market purchased meat
(other than fish), and domestic animal meat are less frequently
consumed.


L. Government Interventions in Bong County:

The BCADP does have some influence on farming systems in the
project area. Its interventions include the introduction and
distribution of improved tree crop (coffee and cocoa) seedlings,
chemical inputs, development and seasonal loans to farmers,
improved rice and cassava varieties, swamp rice development,
wells and other extension services.
Phase II of the project which started in 1983 is expected to
cover a large part of the county and provide additional services
to more farmers.








80

K. Food Consumption:

Fish is the most common meat source for most farm families in
Bong. In addition to fresh water fish, dried marine fish from
Monrovia is often purchased in local markets. Fish also is a
common meat used to feed kuus. Wild meat, market purchased meat
(other than fish), and domestic animal meat are less frequently
consumed.


L. Government Interventions in Bong County:

The BCADP does have some influence on farming systems in the
project area. Its interventions include the introduction and
distribution of improved tree crop (coffee and cocoa) seedlings,
chemical inputs, development and seasonal loans to farmers,
improved rice and cassava varieties, swamp rice development,
wells and other extension services.
Phase II of the project which started in 1983 is expected to
cover a large part of the county and provide additional services
to more farmers.









104

E. Other Field Crops:

1. Sugar Cane

Constraints:

a. Groundhogs

As with rice and cassava, farmers who grow sugar
cane experience problems with groundhogs. Their
compensating strategies are similar to those
described for rice and cassava. Our
recommendations for dealing with groundhogs
would be the same as those prescribed for rice
and cassava.

b. Lack of Processing Equipment:

A major constraint facing farmers who wish to
plant sugar cane as a cash crop is the lack of
available processing equipment to manufacture
cane juice. As a consequence, limited expansion
of sugar cane production is possible.

2. Peanuts:

Women in some areas of Bong and Nimba Counties are
presently planting peanuts as a second crop after
rice or in a separate field.

Recommendation:

Research should focus on the possibility of
integrating peanuts into a crop rotation system for
appropriate areas. Similarly, the possibility of
intercropping peanuts with other crops should be
explored.

III. Animals (Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, Chickens)

Constraints:

A. Diseases (Sheep, Goats)

In many villages of Grand Gedeh, sheep and some goats
are contracting a skin disease locally referred to as
Zeh (perhaps mange or scabies or contagious ecthyma).
In some villages in Nimba, goats are contracting a
disease which causes the eyes to turn white (perhaps
infectious conjunctivitis.)











more common around major towns like Saclepea.


E. Other Field Crops:

Sugar cane and groundnuts are both grown by some farmers in
Nimba, increasing the diversity of the cropping system relative
to Grand Gedeh. Groundnuts may be cultivated in pure stands on a
portion of a previous year's rice field or intercropped with
cassava. Groundnuts are grown as a secondary crop for both
consumption and cash income. Sugar cane is more likely to have a
major impact on a farmers' activities since it can provide a
major source of income. It may be grown in lieu of tree crops and
may even influence the size and location of the upland rice
field.


F. Tree Crops:

Cocoa and coffee are probably of equal importance as cash
crops in Nimba County. As in Grand Gedeh, both crops have been
cultivated by a few farmers for over 20 years. Although some
early farmers obtained their planting material from the Ivory
Coast, the Cocopau plantation stands out as a major source of
seed and seedlings. Most cultivation operations for these tree
crops follow similar patterns as those found in Grand Gedeh,
except that harvest appears to be somewhat later, especially for
coffee. Coffee harvest does not typically begin until October or
November. Farmers in Nimba place somewhat more emphasis on
processing tree crop products than farmers do in Grand Gedeh.
Cocoa is often fermented for 6 or 7 days, and is stirred on the
third and sixth day. Some farmers also mill their coffee after
drying it, and sell it for a higher price as clean coffee. It is
not clear whether the presence of LPMC buying stations or project
activities have increased farmer involvement in cocoa and coffee
processing.



Other Tree Crops
Unlike the other counties, banana and plantain are rarely
intercropped with rice because cassava is generally planted over
the entire rice field. Bananas and plantain tend to be planted in
pure stands often near the rice kitchen, or intercropped with
cocoa, coffee, or sugar cane. Citrus appears to be a little more
common in Nimba than in Grand Gedeh but it is still not
significant as a source of income. A number of small farmers are
planting oil palms provided by the NCRDP. The project policy is
to provide enough seedlings to plant one acre a year for up to
ten years. This is a new project activity and the oil palms
planted have not yet begun to produce. Rubber is an important
commercial tree crop for plantations and concessions in Nimba











more common around major towns like Saclepea.


E. Other Field Crops:

Sugar cane and groundnuts are both grown by some farmers in
Nimba, increasing the diversity of the cropping system relative
to Grand Gedeh. Groundnuts may be cultivated in pure stands on a
portion of a previous year's rice field or intercropped with
cassava. Groundnuts are grown as a secondary crop for both
consumption and cash income. Sugar cane is more likely to have a
major impact on a farmers' activities since it can provide a
major source of income. It may be grown in lieu of tree crops and
may even influence the size and location of the upland rice
field.


F. Tree Crops:

Cocoa and coffee are probably of equal importance as cash
crops in Nimba County. As in Grand Gedeh, both crops have been
cultivated by a few farmers for over 20 years. Although some
early farmers obtained their planting material from the Ivory
Coast, the Cocopau plantation stands out as a major source of
seed and seedlings. Most cultivation operations for these tree
crops follow similar patterns as those found in Grand Gedeh,
except that harvest appears to be somewhat later, especially for
coffee. Coffee harvest does not typically begin until October or
November. Farmers in Nimba place somewhat more emphasis on
processing tree crop products than farmers do in Grand Gedeh.
Cocoa is often fermented for 6 or 7 days, and is stirred on the
third and sixth day. Some farmers also mill their coffee after
drying it, and sell it for a higher price as clean coffee. It is
not clear whether the presence of LPMC buying stations or project
activities have increased farmer involvement in cocoa and coffee
processing.



Other Tree Crops
Unlike the other counties, banana and plantain are rarely
intercropped with rice because cassava is generally planted over
the entire rice field. Bananas and plantain tend to be planted in
pure stands often near the rice kitchen, or intercropped with
cocoa, coffee, or sugar cane. Citrus appears to be a little more
common in Nimba than in Grand Gedeh but it is still not
significant as a source of income. A number of small farmers are
planting oil palms provided by the NCRDP. The project policy is
to provide enough seedlings to plant one acre a year for up to
ten years. This is a new project activity and the oil palms
planted have not yet begun to produce. Rubber is an important
commercial tree crop for plantations and concessions in Nimba











is milled.1
Because cane juice (commonly called C.J.) is a popular local
rum, a significant portion of it is sold in the village. Sales
outside the village usually occur when the farmer has satisfied
village demand. The marketing of cane juice is restricted by
government regulations to licensed traders, shops, and bar
owners. Therefore, farmers usually sell their cane juice
wholesale in local markets. Of course, farmers in the same
villages sell at retail. The wholesale price ranges from about
five to seven dollars per gallon, depending on the supply at the
time of sale. The principal buyers are market women, shop owners,
and other businessmen in the local major towns and urban centers.
A few farmers transport their cane juice to Monrovia where prices
are relatively higher.


J.6. Other Crops:

Minor crops such as peanuts, vegetables, bananas, plantains,
and palm oil are marketed mainly by women. Besides being produced
for home consumption, production over and above family
subsistence requirements is sold to meet other basic needs.
While these crops are considered minor relative to coffee,
cocoa, rice, and cassava, they serve two useful purposes:
1) They are an important source of income for some farmers. It
is usually from the sale of these crops that farming wives
are able to maintain their homes. According to discussions
held with farm families during the survey, women receive
all proceeds from the sale of minor crops except where the
amount involved is substantial. As such, they are not
expected to ask their husbands for money to purchase
household basic needs.
2) They serve as an important source of fruits and vegetables
for city dwellers.


K. Other Sources of Income:

The most common sources of income are from the sale of cash
crops like cocoa, coffee, and sugar cane (cane juice) and/or from
the sale of a portion of the food crops like rice, cassava,
bananas, and plantain. In addition, some villagers are
participating in a number of other income generating activities.







16 The milling and processing arrangements are discussed under
"Other Major Field Crops" section of this report.











K.1. Off Farm Employment:

Several forms of off-farm employment are available. A few
people in many villages are involved in retail trading. This may
be limited to a single commodity like kerosene or cane juice, or
several commodities such as cigarettes, matches, and snuff. In a
few large villages or along a highway, some villagers have a
small shop in the front portion of their houses where they sell a
variety of articles. In a few exceptional cases, villagers near
important centers may be employed by government agencies. In one
village, employment is generated by a nearby government oil palm
plantation. In another village on a highway near an important
city, villagers are employed by a range of government agencies.
Migration provides a second type of off-farm employment. Two
types of migration have been identified. Many young men leave the
village for several years to work in the mines, on rubber
plantations, or in Monrovia. Many will find permanent employment
and remain. Others will return to the village, perhaps to get
married. Their objective seems to be to make enough money to
construct a house and to help pay the bride price. In addition, a
number of farmers are involved in seasonal or periodic migration.
Frequently, these people find jobs tapping rubber or
underbrushing tree crops for a concession or large plantation.
Several farmers also mention they are involved in processing and
gravel from river beds in search of gold. Such migrants may or
may not participate in this activity every year, depending on
their cash needs, family labor situation, etc.


K.2. Farm Laborers:

Working as a farm laborer may be occasional, seasonal, or in
the case of one man interviewed, fairly constant. People willing
to work for cash seemed to be available in every village.
Employment may be organized on either a day wage basis (common
for food crops) or a contract basis (common for underbrushing
tree crops). If a village has a "big man" with rubber or other
extensive tree crops, some of the villagers will typically spend
part of their time working for him. Kuus may also work for money
once the reciprocal obligations are met, or a participant who
does not need the kuu's services may sell them to someone who
does. Kuu wages run about $1.00 per person plus a good meal
which usually includes some palm wine or cane juice. Student kuus
are organized specifically to work for money when students are
home on vacation. Another quasi- wage labor activity is the
practice of helping someone harvest rice and receiving a basket
or a pan of rice for each day of labor.
One old man encountered works mostly as a laborer. He is not
married and says he cannot make a farm alone. He lives with his
brother and helps him when he was not working on contract for day
wages.









54

K.3. Arts and Crafts:

A number of men in each village are involved in local crafts.
Those commonly encountered include mats, fish traps, cane chairs,
baskets, and fanners (a winnowing device). It is difficult to
ascertain how much money is generated by these activities, but
one man does admit to making $60 to $70 from mats and fish traps.
A few people also have some income from artistic activities like
playing drums, sasa (a gourd enveloped in a network of strung
beads) or, dancing.

K.4 Wild Game:

The sale of wild meat is an important source of income cited
by many farmers, particularly in Grand Gedeh. Fresh meat is
retailed locally, and dried meat may be sold locally or to
traders who take it to Monrovia. Other animal products such as
the hides may also be sold. Deer quarters may sell for about $2
to $5, depending on size. A quarter of bush hog may bring $12.


K.5. Palm Wine:

Palm wine is a common beverage in most villages. Many farmers
tap only a small amount for personal use or occasionally sell a
gallon for pocket money. A few specialize in collecting palm wine
for sale, especially if they are near a highway or city. Men have
been observed selling as many as 5 or 6 gallons. Palm wine sells
for about $1.25 a gallon.


K.6. Fishing:

Most families fish primarily for household consumption, but if
the catch is good, they may sell some as well. An excess amount
is most likely when women fish out the pools remaining in the
swamps during the dry season. However, like most activities, a
few people do it more than others and may regularly have some
surplus for sale.


K.7. Money Sent From Relatives:

Many families receive money or goods from relatives who have
migrated out of the village. The most common situation is to send
money home to parents or a brother or sister. The amounts may
vary from $10 or a few articles of clothing to financing the
construction of a new house.











(NCRDP) is an advantage for farmers in the area. The project has
adopted a low cost and low-key approach which emphasizes "self-
help" rather than financial aid. It arranges credit for small
tools, improved rice seeds, fingerlings, tree crop seedlings
(cocoa, coffee, and oil palm) rice mills and rototiller services
for farmers, especially those participating in FDA's and village
working groups in the project area.
In a limited way, Mandingo traders also provide credit for
some cocoa and coffee farmers in the area. In addition, farmers
who do not belong to any credit association obtain credit from
friends and relatives.


K. Food Consumption:

The Gio farmers in Nimba County indicate that they prefer
cassava prepared as gigbah (a dumboy like substance) more than
rice. They claim they eat cassava at least once a day throughout
the year. The Mano, on the other hand, do not consume as much
cassava as the Gio, although they do eat it during the hungry
season.
As for meat consumption, less wild meat is available in Nimba
than in Grand Gedeh because of the secondary bush and high
population densities. Farmers rely more on freshwater fishing,
market-purchased meat (especially marine fish) and domestic
animals for their sources of meat. As stated earlier, domestic
pigs are commonly used to feed kuu labor groups because of the
amount of meat obtained from this animal.


L. Government Interventions in Nimba County:

As pointed out before, the Nimba County Rural Development
Project has had some influence on the farming systems in the
project area. The project's interventions include the development
of FDA's and village working groups, improved swamp rice farms,
fish ponds, rice mills, tree crop (cocoa, coffee, oil palm)
seedlings and the use of rototillers for swamp development. The
scope and intensity of these activities has caused certain
farmers to become over extended and to neglect or reduce some of
their personal farm enterprises.
NCRDP provides logistical and other support services for the
MOA extension personnel assigned to the project. The assistance
(motor bikes, gas, etc.) facilitates the work of the extension
staff in the county.











(NCRDP) is an advantage for farmers in the area. The project has
adopted a low cost and low-key approach which emphasizes "self-
help" rather than financial aid. It arranges credit for small
tools, improved rice seeds, fingerlings, tree crop seedlings
(cocoa, coffee, and oil palm) rice mills and rototiller services
for farmers, especially those participating in FDA's and village
working groups in the project area.
In a limited way, Mandingo traders also provide credit for
some cocoa and coffee farmers in the area. In addition, farmers
who do not belong to any credit association obtain credit from
friends and relatives.


K. Food Consumption:

The Gio farmers in Nimba County indicate that they prefer
cassava prepared as gigbah (a dumboy like substance) more than
rice. They claim they eat cassava at least once a day throughout
the year. The Mano, on the other hand, do not consume as much
cassava as the Gio, although they do eat it during the hungry
season.
As for meat consumption, less wild meat is available in Nimba
than in Grand Gedeh because of the secondary bush and high
population densities. Farmers rely more on freshwater fishing,
market-purchased meat (especially marine fish) and domestic
animals for their sources of meat. As stated earlier, domestic
pigs are commonly used to feed kuu labor groups because of the
amount of meat obtained from this animal.


L. Government Interventions in Nimba County:

As pointed out before, the Nimba County Rural Development
Project has had some influence on the farming systems in the
project area. The project's interventions include the development
of FDA's and village working groups, improved swamp rice farms,
fish ponds, rice mills, tree crop (cocoa, coffee, oil palm)
seedlings and the use of rototillers for swamp development. The
scope and intensity of these activities has caused certain
farmers to become over extended and to neglect or reduce some of
their personal farm enterprises.
NCRDP provides logistical and other support services for the
MOA extension personnel assigned to the project. The assistance
(motor bikes, gas, etc.) facilitates the work of the extension
staff in the county.











Credit from government organizations:
The agricultural development projects (ADPs) and some of 'the
public corporations such as LPMC, LPPC, and the Agricultural
Cooperative Development Bank (ACDB) do provide some limited
credit for farmers where they exist. Most of the credit extended
by the ADPs and the public corporations is channeled through the
farmers' cooperatives which serve as the links between farmers
and these institutions. The presence and the role of each of the
credit institutions in providing credit services vary from county
to county. These variations will be highlighted under county-
specific discussions on credit.


M. Food Consumption:

Although numerous similarities exist between the three
counties regarding food consumption, some significant differences
have also been observed. Some of the topics investigated in this
study include food preferences, seasonality of foods, sources of
meat, dietary patterns, food taboos, and culturally prescribed
foods.


M.1 Food Preferences:

Throughout most of the areas surveyed, rice is the preferred
staple. However, one exception to this is found in Nimba County
among the Gio tribe. The Gio farmers who have been interviewed
consistently indicate that they prefer cassava prepared as
"gigbah" (pounded into a dumboy-like substance) more than rice.
In fact, the amount of cassava they are growing and the number of
times a day they consume it reflects this preference. (They eat
it at least once a day.) This preference seems to be distinctly
tribal, because the Mano living in close proximity do not grow or
eat as much cassava as the Gio. The Mano farmers will often refer
to the Gio as cassava eaters. In the rest of the area surveyed,
cassava is considered the second most important staple. Almost
every farmer interviewed has some intercropped with the rice or
in a separate stand.

M.2. Seasonality:

In all three counties, a marked seasonal difference in access
to food resources is found. Although large quantities of rice and
a wide variety of food stuffs are available after harvest,
supplies of rice begin to dwindle during the next year's cropping
season. Many farmers run out of rice during July and August in
Grand Gedeh, and August and September in Nimba and Bong. This
season is referred to as the "hungry season". To deal with this
problem, farmers are obliged to purchase rice, reduce their food
intake, substitute cassava as the main staple or some combination
of these courses of action. The period of time that this hungry











time normally occurs coincides with some of the peak labor
periods in the upland rice cycle. During this time, women are
usually doing the planting and weeding, and men are building
groundhog fences and underbrushing their tree crops. These
seasonal shortages may have significant nutritional effects on
farm families in these counties, adversely affecting their labor
productivity and health status.


M.3. Sources of Meat:

Some interesting differences are found among the three
counties regarding their access to meat sources. In Grand Gedeh,
probably because of low population densities and the prevalence
of high bush, farmers have more access to wild game than the
other two counties. Wild neat is used both for home consumption
and as a source of income. Such wild meat is also used to feed
kuu labor groups when such labor patterns exist. Freshwater fish
is also consumed when it is in season.
In Nimba, less wild meat is available because of the secondary
bush and high population densities. As a consequence, farmers
rely more on freshwater fishing, market-purchased meat
(especially marine fish), and domestic animals for their sources
of meat. In addition, domestic pigs are commonly used to feed kuu
labor groups. Pigs are preferable to goats and sheep for this
because they contain more meat per animal than the other
domesticates and can feed more laborers. Thus, it appears that
pig raising is an animal husbandry pattern specifically adapted
to prevalent labor patterns.
In Bong, fish is the most common meat source for most farm
families. In addition to fresh water fish, dried marine fish from
Monrovia is often purchased in local markets. Fish also is a
common meat used to feed kuus. Some wild meat, market purchased
meat, and domestic animal meat is also consumed, but less
frequently than fish.


M.4. Dietary Patterns:

It is difficult to generalize about dietary patterns in the
areas studied primarily because a considerable amount of
variation exists from one family to another. One common pattern
found in all three counties is the tendency for husbands and
wives to eat separately. However, no consistent pattern exists as
to the order of eating; sometimes a women will eat 1f rst followed
by the man, other times the men will eat first. Frequently,



17
Buyers come up from Monrovia to purchase wild dried meat from
farmers to sell in Monrovia and other urban centers.
These findings do not support the commonly held belief that




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