On Tuesday, January 10, the 1st day sitting of the 6th Session of the 53rd Legislature, members of the House of Representatives unanimously forwarded an approved bill from the Senate of a Loan Agreement, in the tone of US$13.7 million to three of its Committees for advisement and concurrence.
The Committees on Agriculture, Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, and the Judiciary were mandated by the House’s Plenary to report on Tuesday, January 17.
River Cess County Representative, Byron Zarweiah, is the Chairman of the joint Committee.
The agreement was signed between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).
According to the Senate’s letter to the House of Representatives, the secretary J. Nanborlor F. Singbeh, said the legislation was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.
It may be recalled that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s letter to the Legislature on the loan for the Tree Crops Extension Project, disclosed 9,480,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) and SDR 3,280,000, were equivalent to US$13.7 million.
The overall goal of this financing agreement is to improve the living conditions and climate change resilience of smallholder cocoa producers in Nimba County.
“The target population will be around 11,000 stakeholders of the cocoa value chain, of which (i) 8,000 cocoa small holders, who are members of Kuu Groups and Farmer Field Schools (FFS) (ii) approximately 2,400 other farmers, who will also benefit from roads, input supply and market linkages, and (iii) 600 beneficiaries as a result of job creation along the value chain,” the President wrote.
“The project is also geared at enhancing access to sustainable and affordable rural financial services, and shall benefit the economically active rural population (petty traders, smallholder farmers, food processors, local transportation, craftsmen and artisans, as well as ex-combatants), who demonstrate an interest and willingness to expand their economic activities,” the President said.
The loan is free of interest, but a service charge of three fourths of one percent (0.75) per annum payable semi-annually and shall have a maturity period of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years starting from the date of approval of the loan by the Fund’s Executive Board. The Projects will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture.