The Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA) on Saturday, April 8, provided a grant of US$118, 000 to two local agro-entrepreneurs. The exercise is in continuation of LADA’s program to build the capacity of local agro-entrepreneurs.
The grant was signed under a 50 percent cost sharing arrangement. It is part of LADA’s US$3 million co-investment fund that aims to support Liberian agro-entrepreneurs to increase market and income opportunities for smallholder farmers.
The entrepreneurs are Abraham Tompoe of Life Focus Liberia and Robert Suah of the New Farm Center General Supply.
Abraham Topoe trades in assorted vegetables purchased from farmers, which he supplies to supermarkets, restaurants and hotels in Monrovia.
He received US$108,000 to construct a cold storage facility that will increase the shelf life of farm produce.
As for Robert Suah, he is an agro-inputs dealer who creates increased access to affordable agro-inputs to farmers, especially in Montserado County. Suah received the amount of US$10,000.
LADA’s Chief of Party Daniel Gies said his entity’s approach to empower agro-entrepreneurs is meant to sustain Liberia’s food production and to better the lives of smallholder farmers.
“We cannot improve the lives of smallholder farmers without empowering processors, traders and agro-inputs dealers, who have direct dealings with farmers.
“We are providing support to them so that smallholder farmers can have the opportunity to upkeep their respective families and sustain food production,” Gies said He said LADA expects to support at least 300 agro-entrepreneurs who will eventually provide increased market opportunities for farmers.
Deputy Commerce Minister for Small Business Administration Andrew Paegar said the ministry is pleased with the LADA initiative that aims to strengthen Liberia’s food production.
“We are grateful that Liberian farmers can access support from our international partners.
To further compliment their effort, the Ministry of Commerce has opened a farmers’ market where they can deliver their produce for sale,” said Min. Paegar.
The agro-entrepreneurs in separate remarks thanked LADA for the grant and promised to use it for the intended purposes.
Several agro-entrepreneurs in the country’s agriculture sector including major rice processors, women farmers’ groups, agro-inputs dealers and local lending organizations have benefited from LADA’s co-investment fund since its inception.
The goal of the fund is to expand farmers’ access to the use of basic agricultural inputs through post-harvest handling, packaging and marketing services that can increase farm productivity and incomes.