The lack of agricultural financing is reported to be impeding the ability of Fabrar-Liberia from buying paddy rice from local farmers.
Fabrar is Liberia’s biggest rice industrial processing company based in Kakata, Margibi County. It is purchases paddy rice from farmers and processing it for the domestic market.
Madam Jeannine Cooper, senior partner and founder of FABRAR-Liberia, recently told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview that her company is faced with the lack of sufficient money to transact business with rice farmers.
“We have not being able to reach farmers to purchase more paddy rice due to the lack of financing. The Government will need to provide us credit opportunities that will enable our company to buy more rice and have it processed for the domestic market,” she said.
Madam Cooper said that Fabrar as the biggest rice processor, once it is given financing opportunity, will help alleviate market challenges being faced by rice farmers, which would lead to local rice competing with imported rice.
She added that farmers would grow more rice if the government provides more financing to the sector.
“Our farmers must be encouraged to produce more rice for the country, if financing is made available. We can’t continue to rely on credit relationship with farmers as institutional buyers do not pay back on time for produce bought from our company,” she added.
The Government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture introduced the “Local Procurement Act” which mandates that 25 percent of government’s procurement should go toward the purchase of locally made Liberian products to promote market opportunities for locals. However, since it was enacted, this policy does not seem to greatly benefit the agricultural sector.
“The local procurement act is the right policy that can support the agricultural sector but its critical linkage has not been created as the government who is an institutional buyer has not put in place the mechanism on financing that will allow us to greatly benefit. This is why the farmers are not getting their produce bought,” Madam Cooper stated.
Meanwhile, the Fabrar senior partner has revealed that her company is expected to begin exporting 400 50 kg bags of local rice to the United States market soon.
According to 2015 report of the Food and Enterprise Development (FED), a United States Government food security project that phased out in 2016, Fabrar Liberia procured a total of 412 metric tons of paddy rice from farmers in Bong and Lofa counties. During the same year, the company sold a total of 382 metric tons of milled rice to institutional buyers.
Fabrar, as an industrial processing facility, has the capacity to mill 30 metric tons of rice daily and can store 1000 metric tons of paddy and processed rice.