LIBERIA – In a bid to continue to accelerate the development of the forestry and agricultural sectors, Liberia has suspended import tariffs on agriculture products and materials with immediate effects.

The announcement by President Dr. George Manneh Weah furthers the government’s determination to seek and promote a stable macroeconomic environment that enables private-sector-led economic growth, greater competitiveness, and diversification of the economy.

The importers of agriculture input shall pay only Customs Users Fees (CUF) and the ECOWAS Trade Levy (ETL) where applicable, and added that Beneficiaries of the Executive Order must be directly involved in the Agriculture Sector, as verified by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Agriculture products exempted under the executive order are live cattle (bovines) for breeding, live pigs (swine) for breeding, live sheep and goats (small ruminants) for breeding, and live fish for breeding.

They also include all types of agriculture seeds and planting materials (cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fodder, vegetables, and other crops) including rice for sowing.

Others are all types of agriculture seeds for sowing, ingredients (raw and processed) used in animal, fish, and poultry feed preparation, and commercially prepared or complete feeds for farm animals, fish, and poultry- feed.

According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), agriculture, which provides the main livelihood for 48.9 percent of the workforce, is central to Liberia’s vision of economic transformation.

However, smallholder farmers are held back by a lack of fertilizer and irrigation, poor seeds and breeding stock; and inadequate credit, machinery, and infrastructure for transport, storage, and marketing. Liberia also needs to develop a food processing industry.

The order is consistent with the PAPD, the Liberian Government, and international partners’ determination towards making tremendous strides to boost the agriculture sector by working with key market players to make agriculture affordable for farmers through inter alia, farm development and management, aggregation, Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), Training and enabling Legislation that would boost Agriculture output.

Additionally, the order stems from the realization that the causal effect that such high tariffs have on the agricultural sector and the livelihood of rural farmers.

The tariffs were also contravening the country’s agenda to promote a stable macroeconomic environment and enable private-sectored economic growth, competitiveness, and diversification in the Liberian economy.

Tariffs associated with agricultural inputs are high, according to the findings of local and international partners in the agricultural sector and the government’s internal review process, affecting the agricultural sector adversary and poor rural farmers who rely predominantly on agriculture for their livelihood.

The President envisioned that by lowering the tariffs associated with the importation of Agricultural Inputs, the imports of agro-distributors would increase, and the price of agricultural input would be lowered.

This would in turn enable farmers to access high-quality agriculture inputs at affordable prices, agricultural productivity would improve, agricultural activities would become commercially viable; product consistency would increase, and local farmers would have sustained high incomes.

Consequently, the government projects the no-tariffs on the products will bring it closer to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger, improving nutrition, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

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