In an effort to address the challenge of market faced by Liberian farmers, the United States Agencies for International Development Food and Enterprise Development Program (USAIDFED) has created a market that procures rice from local rice farmers the country.
USAIDFED created the market in a partnership with Fabrar Liberia, a local rice processing company based in Kakata, Margibi County.
About 10 farming organizations from Voinjama, Kolahun and Foyah Districts in Lofa County on Monday, May 12, sold 1,311 bags (65 metric tons) of seed rice to Fabrar Liberia.
Speaking at one of the many transactions, the Agri-Business Specialist of FED, Robert Nyambaka, said that his institution has recognized the need to create a sustainable business environment for rice farmers in the country for income generation.
“FED has developed a strategy that will help rice farmers to earn money through the sale of seed rice for self-empowerment. This is in fulfillment of our promise to Liberian rice farmers few years ago in order for them to make farming as a business,” he told the rice farmers.
According to Mr. Nyambaka, farmers in the counties where FED is supporting farmers will now have the opportunity to sell rice to the local processor.
He urged the farmers to produce more rice for the company to buy.
For his part, the local processor, Fabio Lavelanet, said that he was glad for the opportunity to transact business with many rice farmers in the country.
“Our company needs 40,000 bags of seed rice annually to process for the Liberian market. This is a business that would continue as long as the company is here. We are doing this so that our locally produced rice can compete with the imported rice,” he disclosed.
He further said that his company has a production processing capacity of 5,000 metric tons per year, which required that more rice is needed for processing.
“We are already buying rice from farmers and having it milled in a standard manner sold at a good price on the market in Liberia. We are also looking at processing rice for the export market. Therefore, we encouraged farmers to grow enough rice that we may purchase,” he told the rice farmers in Lofa.
Meanwhile, farmers in Lofa have described the process as laudable, saying that it was the first time to find someone to buy their produce.
“We are very happy that there is a company that has come to buy our rice. We are producing rice in a large quantity in Lofa but lack buyers. This has posed a serious economic problem for many farmers, thus making them reluctant to farm,” a farmer in Kolahun district Emmanuel Taylor said at one of the business meetings.