Madam Rugie Barry, chief executive officer (CEO) of Liberia Business Incubator (LBI), a cassava processing facility in Lower Virginia, Montserrado County, has called on Liberians to support their locally made food or non-food items by purchasing them from the markets.
She said she has noticed that despite the efforts of farmers to help minimize hunger in the country by producing and processing Liberian food, there is no encouragement from Liberians in terms of purchasing their own locally made products.
She made the call yesterday in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer in Monrovia.
CEO Barry explained that it has been proven that cassava is Liberia’s second staple crop and one of the primary sources of income for rural farmers and it plays a major role in food security since it can be harvested before the rice.
“It is part of my dream to improve food production in the country by adding value to cassava and that’s why I decided to establish a fully incorporated Liberian owned and operated agriculture holding firm in 2010, to engage in food security by improving the livelihood of farmers and providing them with increased access to domestic and international food markets.
“I have many male and female farmers that we are working together with. I didn’t start this business with huge money but I’m proud that my dream has come true,” she asserted.
The incubator is currently manufacturing and processing cassava by adding more value in the form of flour, fufu, gari and plantain flour, which are being sold for a reasonable amount for each packaged item.”
Madam Barry is meanwhile encouraging Liberians to promote home-grown products because it will improve the livelihood of farmers and create space for employment.
She described the made-in-Liberia food as the best because they are 100 percent organic and are nutritious for consumption.
Madam Barry said Liberia has increasingly been depending on other food imported from other countries, giving less preference to locally made food and other local items.
She said the expenses Liberians incur to buy imported food was one of the reasons that prompted her to begin processing cassava by adding value in order to enable Liberians pay less when they buy the local products. However, it is surprising to her that only few persons buy the products.
She called on Liberians to empower local farmers who are working tirelessly by ensuring that the country is on equal footing with others in terms of food production by purchasing their produce as a means of promoting Liberian products.
Madam Barry says she is a business woman who loves to promote businesses and discovered it at the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP-Liberia). “It encouraged me to begin investing into planting cassava and today my LBI cassava processing facility is helping to improve my country’s agricultural activities.”
She called on farmers to keep up their good work by growing more crops and producing more food as a means of reducing the high rate
As efforts to supply more cassava-based products in the country, her organization has planted over 25 acres of land with cassava for mass production.