Liberia secures US$38m to commercialize agriculture

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The Liberian government through the Ministry of Agriculture says that it has secured US$38 million under the Liberia Agribusiness Commercialization Fund (LACF) to commercialize agriculture in the country for the next three to four years.

The Liberia Agribusiness Commercialization Fund (LACF) is a component of the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) that is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and commercialization of smallholder farmers for selected value chains in Liberia.

The project also seeks to increase agricultural productivity and promote smallholder commercialization by facilitating private sector investment in selected value- chains and by fostering productive linkages between smallholder farmers and selected agribusiness firms to promote access to markets.

The government says enough funds have already been identified to implement the project will help in transforming the country’s current needs.

The Minister of Agriculture Madam Jeanine Milly Cooper over the weekend told reporters that prior to her appointment by President George Weah, the Ministry had lost ineffective programs, but due to her ingenuity over the period, there’s more agricultural transformation happening in the private sector.

“Today we have Kernel Fresh Store, J-mart, and other local Liberian businesses producing packaged goods ready to eat, and these are things we didn’t have here before”, she added.

Minister Cooper disclosed that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in partnership with her ministry has been talking to importers about the level of importation here, noting that about $20 to $30 million is spent on other products every year, and $36m on fish.

“If we are spending $200m on rice, what about the other things that we could be doing”, she pointed out.

She disclosed that a rice major at the Freeport of Monrovia UCI has set up a system to provide seeds for farmers in the country, besides importing 27 million chicks into the country from their Portuguese layer.

However, she revealed that at the end of this year, one hundred per cent of eggs on the Liberian market will not be imported but should be produced here.

The MOA cited the production of organic palm oil in Liberia, adding that these are some of the major transformations taking place in the agriculture sector currently.

The Ministry of Agriculture was established by an Act of the Liberia Legislature on May 11, 1972. The 1972 Act repealed the 1964 law which was created by then the Department of Agriculture (DOA) with a specific mandate to develop the agricultural sector of the country.

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