The Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA) and Liberia Entrepreneurial Asset Development have signed a US$50,000 grant that will empower farmers in Nimba County to improve their agribusinesses.
The signing ceremony was held on Thursday, January 19, in Congo Town, Monrovia.
LADA Chief of Party Daniel Gies said the initiative is aimed at empowering farmers financially to increase production to help reduce the importation of rice.
“This is part of a bigger plan to support farmers so that the rice they produce can be bought to improve income and reduce rice importation,” he said.
He said his institution is working with farmers, processors, aggregators and agro-dealers to make more profit and scale up food production in the country.
For his part, LEAD’s board chairman Rev. Samuel Reeves thanked LADA for the grant and stated that it will be used for the intended purpose.
The Corporate Sales Manager of Cellcom, Eric L. Clarke, expressed his institution’s commitment in partnering with LEAD and LADA to reach beneficiary farmers with financial assistance through digital financial services.
A press release from LADA said the US$20 million Feed the Future Food Security program of the U.S. Government for Liberia states that LADA has partnered with LEAD to expend its current financial portfolio by supporting the provision of working capital to female members of the Gbehlay-geh women’s Rural Women’s Cooperative.
It said LEAD will match LADA’s US$50,000 contribution through its Co-Investment Fund (CIF) to provide US$100,000 funding to the female famers (Gbehlay-geh women) to enable them to increase productivity in their value chain operations to mainly supply harvested and collected rice, cassava and vegetables to the cooperative, large supermarkets and the local populace.
The Gbehlay-Geh Rural Women’s Corporative is a local organization that is involved in the production and processing of rice for local markets and has a membership of about 1,000 famers.
The press release further said the disbursement of the fund will be made through an innovative digital financial service platform that will be carried out by Cellcom’s “Smile Mobile” service. LADA is a five year agricultural project that is implemented by Cultivating New Frontier in Agriculture (CNFA) in four counties: Bong, Lofa, Nimba, and Rural Montserrado, with the goal of increasing the incomes of smallholder famers through private sector investment in the Liberian agri-business sector.
The program has identified value chains such as rice, cassava, vegetables or horticulture, cocoa and aquaculture and is also supporting agro dealers, processors, and aggregators to improve their income from farming.