The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on February 12-14, organized the annual National Agriculture Fair in partnership with key actors and stakeholders in the agriculture sector at the Central Agriculture Research Institution (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County.
The event that focused on displaying agricultural products and agribusinesses; with the aim of creating a platform for building business partnerships and market linkages was kicked off by Liberian President George M. Weah.
The national event, under the Theme: Investing in Agriculture for Prosperity and Development, was also intended to create the platform for stakeholders in the agricultural value chain to exhibit what is happening at the various levels in the sector and lessons presented for improvement.
In partnership with the MOA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provided technical support in the planning of the fair and provided US$10,000 in direct support.
FAO facilitated the participation of 18 beneficiary farmers from its ongoing projects to the fair to create opportunities for acquaintance with potential business partners for possible business linkages and partnerships.
Madam Tiwa Blama of the Mayour Women Cooperative, a beneficiary, based in Foya, Lofa County, was awarded the Best Individual Producer for rice. In addition, the Say No to Hunger Group, based in Whenlenla, Nimba County was awarded Best Vegetable Producer Group. FAO’s produce booth was visited by President Weah, who purchased $1,000 USD worth of produce directly from the farmers. These beneficiaries consisted of farmers from projects funded by the United Arab Emirates, the European Union, the Government of Japan and other development initiatives implemented by FAO.
The event also included a stakeholder dialogue, which brought together farmers, agribusinesses, producer organizations, farmer cooperatives, input suppliers, SMEs and technicians, to a forum to listen to experts on the commercial viability of crops and possible solutions.
During the stakeholder dialogue, farmers also presented their challenges to national leaders, ranging from financing, technologies, inputs, agro-insurance, and agro-information.
The event was a success and showed Liberia’s continued commitment to sustainable development through agriculture.