Liberia, Guinea Allow Cross Border Movement of Agriculture Produce

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The closure of borders during the Coronavirus pandemic has had a serious effect on agriculture and food security for the last few months. (Pictured: a truck loaded with goods under inspection at the Ganta boarder customs in April this year.)

MOA food security situation report reveals

Recent food security report of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has revealed that cross border movement of agriculture produce and inputs are now allowed between Liberia and Guinea.

The cross border movement is occurring through four of the country’s three main border points, Ganta and Yekepa in Nimba County as well as Yeala and Voinjama in Lofa County, respectively in small quantities, the report said.

In March of this year when the Coronavirus was discovered in Liberia, a state of emergency was declared by the government that led to the closure of borders in bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Borders closure had a serious effect on agriculture and food security for the last few months as there are reports that farmers in the livestock sector could not access feeds for production alongside a limited supply of meat products on the Liberian market. Additional the closure of the borders had also contributed to the acute shortage of fertilizers and other inputs to enhance crop production.

Liberia heavily depends on neighboring countries like Guinea for agriculture produce and inputs and the COVID-19 situation has made the agricultural sector more volatile due to the lack of measures for agriculture at the earlier stage of the virus outbreak.

The recent food security report of the MOA also stated the high cost of commercial transport fares is causing price increase of food in Monrovia.

The report further stated that farmers in River Gee and Grand Gedeh counties who work with the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) on the production of certified rice seeds are currently harvesting their rice.

“These foundation seeds can be sold to other local farmers who are doing seed multiplication, the report said.

According to the report there is also a serious shortage of pesticides for vegetable farmers.

“Another challenge hindering food security is the lack of seed threshers to process rice seeds”

The report said because of the huge demand for agro equipment the MOA has started loaning out available power tillers to farmers based on need assessments.

The report further said that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has procured three tractors and assorted spare parts as a contribution to agriculture and food security.

It further revealed that resources are being made available through agro-dealers across the country to purchase seed rice just ahead of planting season with funding provided by the USAID through the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture -Liberian Agribusiness Development Activity (CNFA-LADA) project.

The report disclosed that the Government has made available US$10,000 matching grant fund to improve potential agribusinesses in the country. The grant is part of the MOA’s Emergency Food Security Response to COVID-19 and is being availed as part of the World Bank-funded Smallholder Transformation & Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P).

Meanwhile, the MOA recent food security report has revealed the commencement of distribution of food supply to the most the vulnerable Liberian citizens affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Government recently approved a stimulus package of US$25 million to be used as food supply during the COVID-19 lockdown.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Agriculture products are allowed to enter Liberia during the period of the Chinese virus that has invaded the country. But when marketers purchased the same products as food needed by counties and remote villages , the truck loads are prevented from moving from county to county. Some are stopped at check points for days, because they do not have Coronavirus permits. What a country ? What a country ? Ha ha ha ha ha ! What a country ? Oh well, such is life in Liberia.

  2. This narrative on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food security in Liberia, just shows how vulnerable we are in so many ways than one, which is very very scary. If Liberia and Guinea and by extension the other neighboring countries have basically the same climatic condition and not so different weather pattern, then it makes you wonder why for crying out loud, would Liberia be soooo dependent on Guinea for things like vegetables and other basic food supplies? So much so that just within two months of disruption in the flow of those goods between the 2 countries, we have started feeling the pinch of food shortage already?

    In a “comparative advantage” scenario, for example, each country would produce in excess what grows best on its soil and the other countries do the same that best suit their soils, and those surpluses are exchanged or traded with the other countries to make up for the respective deficits. Weather, climatic and soil conditions are the factors that usually determine those variations in the comparative trade.

    Put more plainly, Guinea may have a more favorable soil for peanuts than Liberia. And Liberia may have a more favorable soil for cassava than Guinea. The 2 countries will then grow in excess of what their respective population needs and sell the surpluses to the other country.

    In this given scenario, both countries will feel the pinch arising from any rift in the course of the bi-lateral relationship between the countries. Liberia will have a peanut shortage and Guinea will have a cassava shortage. That way, both countries will respect or value the trade relationship and will do everything to maintain a cordial relationship.

    But when you have Liberia importing cows from Guinea or Mali, importing rice from the US and Asia, importing vegetables (of all things) from Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, and everything else besides for-nothing big mouth, you wonder whether we have had any leadership since 1847?

    Leaderships that would have assessed the productive capacity of Liberia based in what it has as natural endowments and what it lacks, and from that assessment set out to develop the country.

    One president that appeared to have had some inkling in that regard was William Tolbert. That was the only president who assumed the helm of leadership of the country with an agenda towards improving the country. An agenda, a development plan on where he wanted to see Liberia within certain timeframes.

    Remember, for example, his “Total Involvement for Higher Heights” agenda? Or “Rally Time?” Or “Farm to Market Roads?” Or “Self Reliance?” Or the adoption of the youths of the country as his “Precious Jewels?” The man’s passion and zealotry for development and to see it done now! earned him the nickname, “Speedy!”

    Sadly, no succeeding Liberian president has ever fit the proverbial shoes president Tolbert left. Thus the quest continues!

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