New Agriculture Minister to Focus on Improving Extension Services

first_imgMrs. Wiles with Dr. Charles McClain (left), Deputy Minister for Planning at the MOA, and Thomas Gbobie, Deputy Minister for Extension.The newly appointed Minister of Agriculture Seklau Wiles says improvement on extension delivery services to farmers will be her main focus.Madam Wiles made the disclosure to the Daily Observer last Saturday in Sackie Town, Bomi County, where she visited farmers in that region.Extension delivery service to Liberian farmers is still a major challenge for the country’s agriculture sector.The minister’s visit was prompted by recent media reports that several farmers in Bomi County lacked access to planting materials, mainly rice seeds for this farming season.Mrs. Wiles, former deputy minister for technical services at the Ministry of Agriculture, replaced Dr. Moses Zinnah, who served from September 2015 to May 17, 2017.“Our visit to farmers in Bomi was to assess their needs in order to provide necessary assistance. We will continue to make extension delivery a priority because agricultural development begins with extension. It is important that we continue to work directly with farmers,” she said.“We noticed that many of the farmers made farms last year but failed to preserve some of their seeds to plant. Therefore, we are working to identify those needs to enable us provide them.”According to her the farmers identified will be given improved rice seeds to commence planting as soon as possible.She added that farmers who are registered by the MOA in the fifteen counties are to shortly receive inputs, such as fertilizers, seeds and cassava cuttings.“We have already commenced the delivery of inputs to farmers beginning with those in the southeast. It is expected that by the middle of June, we shall have completed the provision of inputs,” she added.Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf launched the “Zero Hunger Strategic Report” in Monrovia that calls on world leaders to work harder to end hunger by 2030, under the United Nations’ mandate.Meanwhile, Madam Wiles said Liberia can reduce rice importation provided more attention is given to farmers to produce right locally.“We can produce enough of our staple food (rice), if mechanization is encouraged among our farmers. This is why we are now assessing their needs to know the kind of support to give. We would love for our farmers to farm on the same plot year after another, using mechanized equipment. This will enable the scientists at the ministry to find out their problems and find solution that will lead us to increase rice production,” she said.The County Agriculture Coordinator (CAC) of Bomi County, Christopher Momo, told this newspaper that more than 20,000 registered farmers in the county will benefit from MOA inputs.He said his office was involved in varying the inputs needs of farmers but logistic is a serious constraint.Momo mentioned that although farmers in Bomi were making progress, issues such as land preparation and access to improved seeds were major challenges confronting them.“Before citizens in Bomi County were considered as people who lacked interest in agriculture, but we now have a lot of potential farmers who are striving to promote food production in the various farming villages. The support from the MOA and its partners will greatly enhance productivity to dispel the notion that the people of this county are lazy,” he stated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

The 7 Hottest Housing Markets in the US

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share With the national economy on cruise control, it might be easy to forget that some markets are clearly hotter than others. The latest look at “sizzling” markets from John Burns Real Estate Consulting finds seven high-demand, high-potential markets in the U.S. at the dawn of Q2. All but one are west of the Mississippi. Escalating home prices aside, Seattle is the hottest market in the U.S. right now, according to the report. For one thing, there’s Amazon; for another, there’s Microsoft. For a third, there’s business in general. Thirty-one publicly traded companies in Seattle have seen their shares increase 51 percent, year-over-year. Homes in the Emerald City have gained 15 percent on resale, year-over-year as demand and competition remain high. “Seattle also possesses less than one month of supply, the lowest of all markets,” the report found.A close second is Dallas, with a pro-growth attitude, no income taxes, and 2.4 percent year-over-year job growth. Competition for houses in Dallas is so high, Burns reported, that demand has “helped push home prices 65 percent above prior peak levels.” A number of new builders have entered the market, increasing competition too. Currently, Dallas builders are working on 734 active projects, second only to Houston’s 1,000 active communities and 15 percent above where Dallas was last year.But, a word of caution for these two cities: Seattle and Dallas have the most long-term risk among top markets right now, Burns reported. On the West Coast, Riverside-San Bernardino proved a survivor of the crash and has become a hub for commuters who work at coastal job centers. It’s also the market Burns says that will be the strongest for home growth over the next two years. The region’s tendency towards oversupply, the report states, is likely to not be an issue.“Rising Asian buyer appeal that has recently been fueled by nonstop China Airlines flights between Taiwan and Ontario,” Burns reported. The “Silicone Slopes” of Salt Lake City has become such a tech hub that Burns ranked the market the fourth-hottest in the country. Tech giants like Adobe are growing alongside smaller startups, and a strong jobs market fuels equally strong household growth. According to the report, Salt Lake employs 17 percent more people than it did pre-recession. “Strong demand has pushed home prices up 10 percent, year-over-year, and we project another strong year in 2018,” the report said.The only sizzling market east of the Mississippi, Nashville, is especially a hit for millennials and people looking for smaller homes. Unemployment in Nashville is a well under average at 2.6 percent, and jobs are 23 percent above their prior peak, the report stated.   “This ‘it’ city has become a hipster and tourism mecca, given the countless honky-tonks and foodie hot spots,” the report said. “Builders and local municipalities have struggled to keep up with the growth. Cost creep remains a concern for local builders as fees and labor costs continue to rise.”Another California hot spot is San Diego, where an extremely tight supply has resulted in robust price gains for both new and resale homes. Double-digit employment growth for higher-income segments ($120K–$200K) helps offset some of the affordability issues. The city remains a draw for its growing biotech sector, San Diego’s diverse economy, and benefits from a large military presence. The final sizzling market on the list is, fittingly, where the sun rarely goes down. Phoenix, once one of the country’s foreclosure depots, now has a two-month inventory and sales totals second only to Atlanta, at 124,000 homes (new and resale). Permits are down two-thirds from their peak, but this, Burns reported, makes Phoenix easily the most affordable top market in the country. March 22, 2018 787 Views center_img The 7 Hottest Housing Markets in the U.S. Affordable builders Construction Growth High-demand High-potential Home Prices homes HOUSING Housing Supply 2018-03-22 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more