The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has ended a two-day Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Trade Fair in Monrovia, terming it as a clear manifestation of changing the country’s economy.
In an interview with some of the Small Enterprises (SMs), yesterday, Patricia F. Gant, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Patom Enterprise said her organization is involved in cultivation, preservation, processing, and packaging of farm produce to help reduce post-harvest waste and promote food security in Liberia.
Ms. Gant said Patom Enterprise is currently based in Montserrado County but makes business with all smallholders in the various counties to promote farmers, considering the lack of storage capacity in the country.
Madam Gant said she was delighted to be part of this year’s Trade Fair and Patom Enterprise will remain focused in promoting food security in the country.
“During the pepper season in Liberia, we have most of it wasting with the price being very low on the market. In the face of no buyer, I buy them and reprocess them. I do pepper sour, pepper powder with all farm produces because if we are supported, Liberians can eat what they produce and produce what they eat,” Ms. Gant said.
She said there are many challenges in improving small enterprise in Liberia, especially taking an entrepreneur from one place to another, including the payment of business registration, which is sometimes delayed and results into losing contracts.
“If your business is not registered up to date to give you tax clearance, there will be a long process, some time there is a delay for one or two months, and during that period, you will lose many contracts because you are waiting for tax’s clearance and this is challenging and the government must intervene,” Ms. Gant said.
She said small businesses are asked to pay for withholding taxes for the space they are occupying on the farm as an office, and also pay for the land that is being used for the farming.
“The government has refused to consider the lack of road infrastructure that is hampering farmers in transporting their commodities to their destinations,” she said.
“The roads are not good and this results into the damage of farmers goods. If farmers are informed to pay for all the above, you are discouraging them from farming, because they will be paying too much money and getting less from their sales. There is the need for government to begin subsidizing farmers,” she stressed.
She said that with support from the government and other international partners by 2030, there would be more millionaires from the small enterprise or the private sector.