World Bank launches US$25m project to support Liberian farmers

LIBERIA –  The world bank has approved a US$25 million International Development Association (IDA) credit set to benefit over 17,500 smallholder farmers through Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) of Liberia.

The Daily Observer reports that the funding is aimed at facilitating increased productivity of smallholder farmers for commercial purpose through the STAR-Project.

The 5-year project is expected to increase agricultural productivity and commercialize selected value chains rice, oil palm and horticulture in the country

“These farmers will, accordingly, benefit from increased income accruing from productivity increases and improved access to markets for the sale of their products,” a release from World Bank stated.

The STAR-P is aligned with the World Bank Group’s (WBG) twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and the emerging priorities of country’s ambition as reflected in the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

The project focuses on the economic empowerment of rural poor farmers, and will directly contribute towards increasing shared prosperity and helping Liberia tackle its worsening challenge of poverty.

“Supporting agriculture with focus on enhanced private sector investment, and key value chains will ensure economic diversification, Pro-poor growth and boost food security,” said Larisa Leshchenko, World Bank-Liberia Country Manager.

Leshchenko said emphasis will be placed on addressing critical market failures limiting the development of the rice, oil palm and horticulture value chains.

“The STAR-P is a transformative project that intends to commercialize the operation of smallholder farmers, while attracting private sector investment into agriculture. This is an opportunity for Liberians in the Diaspora to make meaningful profitable investment in agriculture,” said Co-Task Team Leader, Abimbola Adubi.

STAR-P will seek to support institutional capacity-building and strengthening the enabling environment for farmers and stakeholders, enhance productivity and competitiveness, boost project management and contingency emergency response.

The World Bank established IDA in 1960 and aims at helping world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

With a population of more than 4.6 million people, Liberia remains a food insecure country with rice, maize wheat and soybean being the mostly consumed commodities.

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