In monthly deal with Mary’s Meals
Fabrar Liberia Incorporated, a Liberian owned agriculture goods processing firm, has finally completed negotiations and agreements to supply Mary’s Meals with 50 metric tons of locally produced rice per month for its school feeding program beginning June 2017.
At the ceremony held on Friday, June 9, at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Deputy Minister Stephen Marvie said he was delighted to be part of an initiative that is geared towards promoting Liberian owned businesses, especially farmers.
“We are delighted to see the realization of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Fabrar and Mary’s Meals, which is involved with the school feeding program and will now begin using Liberian rice to feed kids in school,” Minister Marvie said.
He added that the agreement between Mary’s Meals and Fabrar was due to Minister Axel M. Addy’s enthusiasm to see small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) grow over the years, stating that “We are delighted that they can link up with another NGO on access to market.”
Emmanuel Tom-Rad Kailie, Mary’s Meals Country Director, said he was excited to see Liberian owned and produced rice being used to feed school going kids, lauding the Ministries of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Education.
Director Kailie said Mary’s Meals strongly believes in home grown rice, because it is the only way the organization can sustain school feeding in Liberia, as that they cannot rely on food imports for the program.
“We feed rice three time a week, including Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and feed CSB (corn soya blend) and beans twice a week, because it is not staple in Liberia. Using the locally produced rice to feed the kids in school is a plus for Mary’s Meals, and we hope to continue it,” Director Kailie said.
According to him, his organization is constraint to import food, because the market has not been adequately strengthened to meet the need of Mary’s Meals, but believes that Fabrar can make the difference.
“This is a challenge for Fabrar, but we have done a test with them and they have actually decided to step up to ensure that they keep up the promise. We also hope that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry along with the Ministry of Education can also support them for the contract to ensure the sustainability of it,” Director Kailie stated.
He said there is a need for both ministries to continue facilitating such a gathering to ensure that other Liberian businesses benefits, especially local suppliers.
“Fabrar can’t supply the total food Mary’s Meals needs, because of the number of schools that the organization is currently reaching; and so there is a need that other suppliers come to help. This will stop Mary’s Meals from importing rice and begin dealing with locally produced rice,” Director Kailie said.
The Mary’s Meals director said his organization is currently feeding around 130,000 students with focus on Cape Mount, Bomi, Montserrado and Bong counties, adding that, “This will help to save more money intended for Liberia, which is now going to India, South Africa and Canada.”
He added that his organization is currently expanding to other places, with Gbarpolu and Margibi counties listed for the three-year plan.
“Mary’s Meals is focused on one goal – that every child receives a nutritious daily meal in a place of education. These life changing meals attract hungry children into the classroom. The food fills their empty bellies so they have the energy and opportunity to learn, giving them the chance of a brighter future,” he said.
Fabrar Liberia Incorporated is a Liberian owned and operated agriculture holding firm created in 2009 to tackle food insecurity in Liberia by improving the livelihoods of farmers and providing them with increased access to domestic and international food markets.
Fabio Lavelanet, Chief Executive Officer of Fabrar Liberia Incorporated, said he was pleased to achieve such a milestone for Fabrar and promised to sustain the program.
“Mary’s Meals has been a good partner and the organization stands ready to supply whatever is in the MOU. This is very good relationship, and we look forward to continuing the program,” he added.