LIBERIA – The United Arab Emirates signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FAO to invest US$4 million in Liberia to help the rural women develop sustainable agribusiness models.
The funding will support poultry and vegetable production using solar energy as part of the UAE’s ongoing humanitarian works to empower women across the world.
The contribution which comes from the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will be managed by FAO and Masdar Future Energy Company, a renewable energy company based in Abu Dhabi.
Masdar will provide solar energy solutions to support irrigation, cold storage, mills and other key farming operations for the project.
Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister for International Development Affairs at the MoFAIC stated that the project will empower and support women in Liberia, in addition to providing alternative energy, a strategic priority in the UAE’s foreign aid.
He stressed the importance of renewable energy as a key factor to promote economic self-sufficiency in regions with low growth rates.
“Masdar has extensive experience in this area by contributing to establish humanitarian projects in many remote areas around the world, from the Pacific Islands to North Africa and all the way to the Caribbean.” He added
The project will support 1500 rural women in three counties in Liberia.
Its aimed at promoting increased resilience and sustainable income generation, food security and nutrition with improved and sustainable poultry and vegetable production as reported by FAO.
The fund will be utilized in procuring chicks, poultry vaccines, seeds, fertilizer, power tellers, vehicles for marketing the produce and building integrated gardens and orchards, water wells and aquifers.
The women will be able to grow valuable vegetables, engage in fish farming and produce poultry products such as meat and eggs.
Improved foundation seed will be used in one major rice-growing area to increase crop yields in scalable ways. To strengthen the capacity of farmers and district agriculture officers working for Liberia’s Ministry of Agriculture, an international and national rice expert will be deployed to offer the needed training and guidance.
Study tours and trips to successful ventures in Benin and the UAE will be undertaken to help scale up and replicate benefits from similar projects in the areas.
To further boost the capacity of rural women to engage in basic business and entrepreneurship, producer groups in form of cooperatives or marketing associations will be formed.
“At FAO we are very pleased to pilot this Public Private Partnership for women in Liberia with the hope for it to become a successful modality in involving the private sector in development,” said Roberto Ridolfi, Assistant Director-General, Programme Support and Technical Cooperation Department.