LADA Targets Smallholder Farmers for Cocoa and Aquaculture

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Several small holder farmers engaged in cocoa and aquaculture production from Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Montserrado Counties are expected to benefit from the Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA) project, the Chief of Party of LADA, Mr. Daniel Gies, has disclosed.
Mr. Gies made the disclosure recently in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer at his office in Monrovia.

LADA has deemed it necessary to support cocoa and aquaculture because of their market potential to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers.

“The Ministry of Agriculture in several discussions recently requested that we include such food value chains, considering their potential to make farmers generate more income and reduce poverty,” said Gies.

He said that interested farmers identified to benefit under the cocoa and aquaculture project will be provided technical support, grants and linked with financial institutions to access loans to improve their farming businesses.

Mr. Gies said that his institution is improving the lives of local farmers in rice, cassava and vegetables in the targeted counties, adding that there are challenges in these areas that still need to be addressed.

He named some of the challenges facing the country’s agricultural sector as limited market opportunity, limited processing and packaging facilities.

“Our institution will strengthen agriculture investment with a US$3 million co-investment fund as grant to improve the capacities of local processors, aggregators, agro-dealers and farming organizations,” he stated.

LADA is a US$20 million agriculture project sponsored by the U.S government aimed at improving Liberia’s food security. It is implemented in Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Montserrado Counties targeting over 3,000 local farmer beneficiaries within the next five years.

Meanwhile, during the launch of the LADA value chain, they selected three of the most promising agricultural value chains – rice, cassava, and vegetables – because they have strong potentials for job creation, self-sustainability, food security, increasing consumption trends, and reflecting the priorities of the Liberian government.

According to LADA, the value chains it launched recently are key to the country’s food security, and the counties selected are known for best results in these value chains.

The organization believes that with support the agriculture sector will yield more results and Liberians farmers and entrepreneurs will begin to export food to other countries.

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