Liberian government contracts farmers to produce rice, cassava with US$5.5m funding from World Bank

LIBERIA – The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)of Liberia has awarded contracts to 10 small holders’ farmers and food processors to undertake rice and cassava production in a bid to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the agriculture sector and boost food security.

The project is spear-headed under the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation Agribusinesses Revitalization Project (STAR-P) with funding US$10.5m from the World Bank

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According to reports by Front Page Africa, of the amount US$5 million was given to the World Food Program (WFP) for food distribution, while the remaining fund was given to the MOA for the empowerment of Liberian-owned agribusinesses to boost locally grown food production including rice and cassava for onward distribution to vulnerable citizens and institutions.

Entities that have benefited from the funding include the Bravo Sisters, contracted to produce 18 metric tons of fufu flour, 17 metric tons of cassava flour and 70 metric tons of gari; FALAMA Inc. to produce 70 metric tons of cassava flour, 27 metric tons of fufu flour and 100 metric tons of gari; Global Agro to produce 50 metric tons of gari, 50 metric tons of fufu flour and 50 metric tons of cassava flour and Destiny Women to produce 105 metric tons of cassava flour, 29 metric tons of fufu flour and 70 metric tons of gari.

Other entities include the Liberian Business Incubator contracted to produce 70 metric tons of gari, 105 metric tons of fufu flour and 34 metric tons of cassava flour; Logan and Logan INC to produce 70 metric tons of fufu flour, 60 metric tons of gari and 27 metric tons of cassava flour and 125 metric tons of locally grown rice; Selma Development Agriculture Corporation to produce 175 metric tons of locally grown rice; Agriculture Infrastructures Investment Company to produce 250 metric tons of locally grown rice and FABRAR Incorporated to produce 200 metric tons of locally grown rice.

The Minister of Agriculture, Madam Jeanine Milly Cooper and her team continue to identify potential and qualified agribusinesses to access contracts that could boost their capacities to produce various food products to supply the government for distribution to vulnerable citizens especially during this pandemic.

“We noticed that there would be a severe impact on our agriculture sector and food security if certain measures were not taken. We then developed a proposal to seek funding from donors to support agriculture,” she said.

“This has been a long journey since we started but the interactions and procurement processes have been very tedious to allow us come thus far.”

The funding was drawn from the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) within the World Bank’s funded STAR-P in Liberia which kicked off in 2019.

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