Commercial rice farming does not exist in Liberia as most farmers practice subsistence agriculture.
To help change this trend, the United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development program (USAID FED) has partnered with several rice producing organizations, such as the Agriculture Infrastructure Investment Corporation (AIIC) in Quaduboni District, Lofa County to create opportunities for food security.
The AIIC farming group operates a rice business hub in Lofa County that generates income and creates processing opportunities for nearby communities.
In 2014, USAID FED supported AIIC with the objective of increasing rice production through the procurement of agricultural goods, creating additional market opportunities, and providing technical assistance, such as training in lowland and upland rice cultivation.
“This intervention has been a catalyst of change from our traditional farming activities to more modern forms of farming due to USAID FED’s support of AIIC.
“This is helping to generate more income and increase the availability of processed rice in the communities in Lofa County,” explained Mohammed Kamara, lead farmer of AIIC.
Mohammed and 45 other farmers in 2014 partnered with USAID FED to develop 20 hectares of upland rice fields utilizing certified seed provided by USAID FED.
From February to April 2015, AIIC sold more than 45 metric tons of milled rice for a total of US$40,000 to the World Food Program (WFP) for subsequent distribution to Ebola affected communities.
Most of the paddy rice that was milled came from USAID FED-supported farmers within the various farming communities in Lofa County.
In addition, USAID FED has assisted AIIC with various types of processing equipment such as a parboiler, thresher rice mill and de-stoner.
The facility has a production capacity of 2 metric tons of rice per day.
In total, USAID FED has established 3 rice-processing centers in Lofa County.
It is anticipated that these rice business hubs will increase the availability of clean processed rice for people living in Lofa County and surrounding areas.
Furthermore, in FY15 USAID FED will continue to work with the 9 rice business hubs constructed in FY14 by providing them technical assistance. In FY15, USAID FED was expected to construct an additional 10 rice business hubs in Liberia.