Several agricultural stakeholders have pledged support to promote mechanized farming in the rice value chain in the country. They include the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Grow-Liberia, and Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA).
They pledged to support mechanized farming when the Agriculture Infrastructure Investment Company (AIIC) ‘mechanized farming initiative project’ was launched last Friday in Congo Town.
Based in Quadoboni District in Lofa County, the AIIC launched the program to solicit support from Liberians and institutions to initiate mechanized farming activities in the county.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Mosses Zinnah, who launched the project, applauded the AIIC for its vision and assured his ministry’s support.
“It is really exciting to know that some Liberians are setting the pace to make mechanized farming work in the country. The market is available to enhance the opportunity, so we will work with our partners to ensure that farmers are supported,” he stated.
Minister Zinnah said the Liberian agricultural enterprise has the potential to attract the nation’s youth into agri-business for job creation.
“If an enterprise like AICC and others can succeed, our young people would be encouraged to see agriculture as a meaningful venture for self-empowerment. Therefore we will work with you to have you successful in your endeavor,” he assured the organization.
The National Investment Commission’s Senior Economist and Policy Advisor Pewee S. Reed, who was proxy for the head of the NIC George S. Wisner, stressed the need for collective effort for Liberians to achieve food security.
Mr. Reed congratulated the AIIC and said his institution is willing to support the organization’s vision.
“Agro-business has the potential to create jobs and wealth thus improving the economy. We must support the initiative for farmers to increase food production and make the country self-sufficient,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of AIIC, Mohammed Kamara, explained that the project will increase rice production by using mechanized farming to create more jobs for the youth and women in Lofa County.
Kamara added that his company will supply 90,000 metric tons of local varieties of rice harvested from 3500 hectares.
“We want to supply the local market with varieties of processed rice. We can reduce the current rice importation to 40% or 60% if we have a tangible and sustainable support to accomplish this vision,” said Kamara.
The AIIC operates a mini rice processing center in Quadoboni District buying paddy rice from farmers, processing it, and selling it to WFP, Mary Meal and the government. The organization’s current processing capacity is to shortly become upgraded by the Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA) to produce rice from 2 metric tons to ten metric tons daily.