ITC Conducts Survey to Resuscitate Liberia’s Coffee Value Chain

Participants pose after the weeklong coffee value chain mapping

The International Trade Center (ITC), in collaboration with the Farmer Union Network of Liberia (FUNL) and with support from the European Union, has concluded a week-long survey aimed at helping to resuscitate the coffee value chain within Liberia.

The survey covered three counties, including Bong, Montserrado and Bomi counties, respectively.

It seeks to gather data on the level of participation of women and youth in the coffee value chain and the challenges confronting them in order to derive necessary support.

Several farmers, mostly women, were interviewed by gender experts about their interest in production and the processing of coffee to support their families. 

During the exercise, participants outlined many challenges associated with the coffee value chain. 

They named the lack of processing opportunity, limited access to loans and inputs as some of the challenges that greatly hindered their abilities to increase coffee production.

However, the women and youths who have strongly expressed interest in the production and processing of the crops, have said that if only donors could support the value chain, the country can once more regain its status in the coffee industry, globally. 

Meanwhile, the survey climaxed with a one day workshop in Monrovia, where the participants from the counties gained more education of the importance of the coffee value chain.  

Research has shown that currently, coffee in Liberia is produced at a very limited scale mainly for local consumption. But prior to the civil war, the country was one of the major producers of coffee on the world market.

Hilary Barry, Gender Impact officer for ITC, said that the organization intends to support coffee producers, mainly women to support their familie.

Speaking on Tuesday, October 12, in Sanoyea district, Lower Bong County, Madam Barry said that she was in the country to work with the Farmer Union Network  in knowing problems confronting mainly women engaged or interested in the production of coffee.

According to her, women in Liberia's reputation has spread globally due to their contribution to agriculture.

“Women in this country have a very good report on using agriculture to support their children to obtain food and education. They produced coffee every morning to provide energy for their children and husbands to start the day. So we want to know their challenges to ensure means of support,” she explained.

According to her, ITC in collaboration with the Farmer Union intends to secure funding that could support farmers in the next few years.

She further said that ITC would support women farmers as producers and processors within the value chain to access the export market to earn more money to support their families.

Meanwhile, she called on Liberian women in the value chain to form themselves in cooperatives in order to improve their lives and move the sector forward.

For her part, the President of the FUNL, Josephine Francis, lauded ITC for their interest to assist farmers in the coffee sector.

Madam Francis, a former Liberian lawmaker, said that she will work with policy makers in the country to see reasons to support the coffee sector through the enactment of necessary policies.

“We will need to develop the coffee strategy for Liberia if the production of the crop will become a priority. This is something that we are going to work with the policy makers to make a reality,” she said.

Madam Francis used the occasion to thank the various partners that are supporting the coffee value chain in the country.