For the first time since the civil crisis, Liberia through the help of United States Agency for International Development Food Enterprise Development USAID FED will begin to export vegetables to other countries by July this year.
USAID FED Chief of Party Madam Agnes Luz made the disclosure recently following a roundtable conference with the media at a local resort in Monrovia.
According to Madam Luz the export of vegetables by Liberia will boost the agriculture sector of the country and add more value to farmers’ produce.
She said another benefit of the export is to help farmers earn more income and recognize that Liberia is part of other countries exporting food and non food items.
She said her organization will continue to work with farmers to make sure that they are properly trained and that there is increased production and profitability. It will also work to stimulate enterprise and investment and improve work force and human capacity.
Madam Luz disclosed that she is working in partnership with Brussels Airline and has established contact with buyers in Paris and other areas to purchase Liberia’s first vegetables exported to supermarkets and other market places.
She described Liberia first export of vegetables as a legacy that will forever be remembered as it relates to USAID FED activities in the country.
She said the beginning of the export is to improve the business mindset of farmers in all the value chains, adding that in the past she noticed that Liberians were not focusing on harvesting vegetables but through the USAID FED program the number of vegetables farmers has increased.
Madam Luz encouraged Liberian youths to study agriculture as a career to ensure that Liberia becomes self-sufficient in agriculture.
She mentioned that as a means of encouraging youths to join the sector, her organization and other non-profit organizations organized a back to school gardening program which gave students and adult learners access to farming and agribusiness techniques.
“Liberia has a perfect soil for food production, and as an organization aimed at providing more value to farmers we will work in the last year of our project to stimulate private sector growth,” she said.
The USAID FED boss hoped to have more farmers coming on board in order to make the business of exporting vegetables successful.
She mentioned fertilizer as the major issue facing farmers because they are very expensive and appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to provide fertilizers to famers at reasonable cost.
She said farmers with their program have benefitted from hand tools, better quality cassava planting materials and training that have improved their knowledge and skills.
Madam Luz pledged her organization’s commitment to continue empowering and improving the lives of farmers by ensuring that Liberian farmers export food to other countries like United States and France.
Meanwhile, USAID FED is working on a five-year US$75M project to further empower Liberians in six counties to grow their own food.