Williem Van Campen, Chief of Party for the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), has called on entrepreneurs that are operating along the country’s agricultural value chain to identify specific problems affecting the respective areas that they are representing in the country’s agricultural sector.
Campen said that the identification of problems within each sector is an important factor that will help to forge ahead the Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN).
“As an individual entrepreneur, you are confronted with all kinds of constraints. And you are not strong enough to have a voice that can influence policymakers; that is why you have united. The constraints you may have may be value chain specific; there are issues in the rice sector that are not important in the cassava sector or in the fish sector. So it is also important to organize internally so as to bring the real constraints on the table,” said Van Campen.
He added that AIN must work to become independent while it is advancing. He told entrepreneurs that the way to do such is by getting organize to show an image that AIN is a reliable organization. Campen made the statement last Friday in Monrovia when he spoke at a one-day By-law and Constitution Review Section of the Agribusiness Investment Network. The event was organized by the Business Startup Center (BSC), a sub-awardee of Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), to facilitate and coordinate the establishment of the Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN).
William R. Dennis, Director of the Business Startup Center (BSC), said in an exclusive interview that the one-day event was meant to help (AIN) have a working document that signals a clear and simple direction of the Network.
Dennis added that AIN advocates for policy regulations and acts on behalf of agribusinesses. Additionally, AIN provides market linkages to members, technical services for maximum productivitys among other services, to members.
Earlier, O. Naty B. Davies, CEO of Deben Incorporated, an enterprise development firm, challenged AIN members to be conscious of the space of operation that they have, but added that they should also appreciate the space that is around them. Davies further challenged staffs of AIN to seriously advocate for policy change that will create a suitable environment for agribusinesses to operate.
“Beyond training that you will offer your members, one thing that you must try to influence is policy. An entrepreneur will try to be successful but the policy environment around the entrepreneur may make or break the entrepreneur. And that policy environment is generally where one has to engage Government, one has to lobby and one has to provide some of the evident to the policy makers to say that this policy need to be like this in order to create a space for agribusinesses to grow,” said Dennis.
The Agribusiness Investment Network, established in 2017, is an innovative capacity-building network designed to bring together stakeholders and decision makers, to support producers, processors and buyers so as to increase agricultural investment and ensure sustainability of agriculture activities in Liberia.