LADA US$20M Project to Improve Agriculture

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The Chief of Party of Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) Mr. Daniel Gies has disclosed that his agency’s US$20million dollar program will contribute to food security.

He made the statement at the launch of its agricultural value chains of rice, cassava and several vegetables through the Feed the Future (FTF) program on Wednesday at the Paynesville City Hall in Monrovia.

Gies said LADA, a USAID sponsored program, will increase private sector investment in agricultural, increase private sector investment in post-harvest handling and auxiliary services and strengthen facilitation, market information, advocacy and support as a means of improving the agriculture sector.

LADA’s program is implemented by Cultivating Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) with focus on increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers (SHFs) through investment in the agribusiness sector.

Gies said the program will help farmers yield more results from their work in four of Liberia’s fifteen counties, namely Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Upper Montserrado counties.

“Through the LADA Feed the Future (FTF) program, we are committed to working with Liberian entrepreneurs, aggregators, producers of farming equipment, retailers of fertilizers and other agricultural supplies, owners of logistics and transportation companies and cold storage operators, to improve the various food value chains and begin to export food to other countries,” Gies explained.

According to LADA Private Sector Advisor, Madam Watchen Bruce, LADA selected three of the most promising agricultural value chains – rice, cassava, and vegetables because they are strong potential for job creation, self-sustainability, food security, increasing consumption trends, and reflect the priorities of the Liberian government.

“These value chains that have been launched by LADA are key to this country’s food security and the counties selected are known for best results in these value chains. We believe that with this support the agriculture sector will yield more results and Liberians will begin to export food to other countries,” said Madam Bruce.

Madam Bruce told this newspaper that LADA will accomplish its goal by expanding handling, packaging, processing and marketing services with the aim to increase the on-farm productivity and income for Liberian small farmers in the four selected counties.

“We are also giving the LADA Co-Investment Fund (CIF) of US$3million grant mechanism to support agricultural processors in the FTF target areas in Liberia.

“This grant will facilitate investments by nascent and active agriculture processors to develop needed infrastructure in post-harvest handling and marketing technologies and we have placed this information on the Executive Mansion website for interested people to apply,” she said.

The program brought together several organizations and was followed by Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN) that facilitated business relationships to link suppliers, buyers, producers and investors in order to maximize investment and also promote policy interventions to improve the regulatory environment for agribusiness in Liberia.

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