Liberia is poised to start addressing its food security challenges increasingly as another new industrial rice processing facility is nearing completion in the country.
The facility, which is located in Foya, Lofa County, is equipped with integrated rice milling equipment funded by USAID. It is being managed by the Agriculture Infrastructures Investment Company (AIIC), a sole proprietorship rice business company based in the county.
The mill has the capacity to produce 2 metric tons of rice per hour, and, when completed, it is expected to attract a huge market for paddy rice from smallholder farmers in Foya and the nearby farming communities within the county, as well as ensure the availability of cleanly processed rice for the domestic market.
USAID had initially funded the AIIC rice processing facility and the Selma Rice Development Corporation (SADC) through the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), a Feed the Future program of the United States government that was phased out a few years ago.
However, over the years, there have been some challenges associated with the completion of the facility. But with funding from the Liberian government through the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the World Bank, it’s reported that tremendous progress is now being made to do some work on the facility and get it functional.
AIIC is one of the rice processing companies in Liberia that recently received grants from the government through the World Bank and IFAD to address some of the challenges associated with the center.
The Agribusiness Specialist at the LADA project, Victor Ngorbu once said that USAID had spent more than US$1 million to procure rice milling equipment for the country.
The SADC facility is owned and operated by John Selma, but the center is not fully functional at the moment due to some challenges.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the AIIC company, Mohammed Kamara, the facility is undergoing some rigorous work at the moment and, within the early part of next year, the Liberian government will be launching it.
“I am very thankful to the international partners for their many offers of support to have the country run another industrial rice mill. This mill repair of equipment will soon be completed and the launching of it will take place by January, next year,” Kamara recently informed USAID officials’ visit at the facility.
Mohammed said that he received a total grant of US$124,000 to address some of the challenges associated with the operation of the mill.
The AIIC industrial rice facility has been under construction for the last five years. IFAD did the construction of the warehouse to install the equipment.
Kamara said that he will need additional support of US$500,000 to support the out-grower program to ensure that more farmers can be supported to feed the mill.
He said his company was grateful to the leadership and people of Foya district for providing the land to construct the company.
“The district leadership and all of the citizens have been very cooperative. We first had a little mill in Voinjama, but Foya is the rice belt in the county,” Kamara told USAID officials. “The mill is expected to be tried for operation by January next year, when the Minister of Agriculture will be invited. This facility is going to solve some of the food security challenges that the country is facing at the moment.”