PUNTERS hunting quick-fire bankers on today’s 11-race card at Caymanas Park should be wary of the two obvious choices – FORTUNEONEHUNDRED in the 1000-metre round opening event and RAISING THE BAR in the nightcap at 1100 metres.FORTUNEONEHUNDRED has not trained on the track since turning for home with a two-length lead in the Diamond Mile on December 5. Tumbling to $550,000 claiming from grade one, where he campaigned most of last year, suggests something has gone amiss in the last 70 days since the talented United States-bred last raced.Even on an off day, FORTUNEONEHUNDRED should easily put away his six rivals, especially at the minimum distance. However, punters are advised to tread carefully in the opening event by backing up their bets with sound horses such as DWAYNE STAR, ITALIANO and speedy COME DANCE WITH ME.Similar to FORTUNEONEHUNDRED, RAISING THE BAR has taken a shocking drop in class from non-winners-of-four to the second-lowest claiming level, a $250,000 tag.It should be noted that RAISING THE BAR, a renowned speedster, has been slowly into stride in his two races this year. First, it was January 9 at 1500 metres, followed by January 31 at 1000 metres straight.In neither of those races did the four-year-old filly recover, even briefly, to show some speed. In addition, she has been sparingly trained, which makes her suspect against horses who she should easily put away.Options to RAISING THE BAR are consistent INFANTRY OFFICER and CLASSICAL TRAIN, who’s hunting a double, carrying 48.0 kilos, but up in class.HOWARD PHILLIPPS MEMORIALMeanwhile, ACTION MAN should prove too quick for his eight rivals in the 1100-metre Howard Phillipps Memorial.Omar Walker partners ACTION MAN, who heads the scale at 56.0 kilos. However, the four-year-old colt is not too heavy to take charge of the event coming off the final turn.Included in the nine-horse field are five fillies, none of whom can match ACTION MAN for speed. His other three rivals, two geldings and a colt, have neither the form nor speed to deny him following his strong third-place run behind DWAYNE STAR at 1000 metres straight on January 31.Partnered by apprentice Bebeto Harvey last time out, ACTION MAN disputed the lead with LEGAL ACCOUNT from the start before DWAYNE STAR closed in mid-track to overhaul both a half furlong out.DWAYNE STAR had reported for that race with solid runs under his girth, finishing no more than five lengths behind winners such as LONG RUNNING TRAIN, TARANIS, ROYAL ASSAULT and BRAWN in four consecutive races.The filly DINNER BY SEVEN has some speed, but was well beaten by ACTION MAN in their last three meetings.The two expected closers, COMMANDING AVIATOR and TURBO MACHINE CAT, are recent graduates to non-winners-of-three, having both beaten non-winners-of-two in the last two weeks.
The Coordinator of the Liberia office of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP), Mr. Cyrus Sargbe, has called for young Liberian scientists, who have returned from studies abroad and are working in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, to be properly mentored to take charge of the sector in the next few years.Mr. Sargbe said young Liberian scientists, who are working as apprentices under Ministry of Agriculture’s (MOA) implementing partners, AfricaRice, must play leading a role in the field during the learning period, because when the mentors leave, they will have to rise to the occasion.The MOA through its implementing partners, Africa Rice Center (Africa Rice) and The Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) with support from WAAPP, are leading the country’s rice development program.The program is intended to improve the rice production in the country and reduce its dependency on the importation of the commodity.“When we come on the field, we want to see the Liberians carrying out the demonstration exercises in order to convince us that when you are gone they will be able to take charge of the sector. I really want to see them at the forefront of the various exercises, because when this is done, we will know how far we have gone in this project,” the WAAPP Coordinator said.He made these remarks during a tour of AfriaRice’s rice demonstration site at CARI’s headquarters in Suakoko, Bong County over the weekend. The tour was led by WAAP in collaboration with a representative of the World Bank, a major financier of the project.Agriculture, notably food sufficiency is one of two priority sectors of the World Bank’s regional strategies because, according to the bank, the sector provides the source of livelihoods for almost two-thirds of the population in Africa. The bank believes that its intervention would bring about high poverty reduction on the majority of the population.The Country Representative of AfricaRice, Dr. Inousa Akintayo, took the two officials and their teams on a sight-seeing expedition to many of interventions in the county, including the lowland rice varietal development and testing segregating population for yield, demonstration of improved upland rice varieties treatment sponsored by WAAPP and the AfricaRice Center-Liberia Station at CARI.The first phase of the WAAPP project in the country is about to elapse and Mr. Sargbe told the experts from AfricaRice to make more use of the young people so that they can drink from the organization’s fountain of knowledge.The WAAPP boss was impressed by a splendid presentation made by a local scientist at the Rice Demonstration Plot. The presenter, Joseph Ndebe, spoke about the 20 varieties of improved rice that are being processed to be distributed to farmers across the country.World Bank Senior Agricultural Specialist, Abimbola Adubi, also stressed that the level of capacity at CARI is very low and as such there is a need for more scientists at the institution. He said Liberia, as a country, needs more scientists that will work in the research department in order to improve the sector.Liberia currently has about four PhD holders at the nation’s premier research institute, CARI, and Mr. Adubi noted that the situation is pathetic, though he acknowledged that the country has been through a lot of crisis.“To have three or four PhDs in a research institution is not enough, the least should be twenty. This is because this is a technical area that requires a lot of knowledgeable people,” Mr. Adubi said, calling on AfricaRice to ensure that all is done for the country to reach that benchmark.Dr. Akintayo also lauded the students for the swift pace at which they are learning on the field. The AfricaRice boss, who has worked in Liberia’s rice sector for the last thirty years, firstly with ADA and then AfricaRice, said the country is actually improving in the sector.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)