The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has signed a 3-year contract with Delloitte & Touche, a financial firm based in Accra, Ghana, to manage an agricultural matching grants worth US$ 14.25 million dollars for smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in Liberia.
The contract signed on Monday, April 19, 2021 at the Ministry of Agriculture in Congo Town, is under the Liberia Agriculture Commercialization Fund (LACF), a component of the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P), that is sponsored by the World Bank.
Speaking at the occasion, Agriculture Minister, Jeanine Milly Cooper said she was glad that her ministry can find a qualified firm to manage the grant contract, something she said is expected to greatly impact the agricultural sector.
“This is something that I looked forward to seeing happen. Access to finance is very critical to improving the lives of our smallholder farmers and other actors of the agricultural value chain,” she said.
She stated that while it true business development is key in improving the agricultural sector, it is important that support for the sector is directed to the right beneficiaries.
“When we say we need to support agriculture, we can’t just do it by dumping money. But, we must make sure that we have beneficiaries who can produce results,” she said.
According to Minister Cooper, her ministry is working to set up an advisory committee that will ensure that funding for agriculture is ultilized for the intended purpose.
She used the occasion to challenge Delliotte to do all they can so that the agreement can become a success.
The Country Managing Partner of Deloitte, Daniel Kwadwo Owusu, said that is organization is a global professional firm that works to provide fininancial services to governments and institutions.
“When you sign a contract with us, you must understand that you are dealing with a reliable global firm. What matters to us most is to make an impact on the lives of our clients. Agriculture is one of those areas that we deem very necessary to work with,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the National Project Coordinator of STAP-P, Ansu Abraham Metzger, explained that the contract was awarded to Delloite because they have proven to have a record of successful grant management.
“This consultancy is about the Liberia Agriculture Commercialization Fund (LACF) management for which ‘Delloite’ has been a successful bidder through a very long process,” he explained.
According to him, the LACF process is to manage a special account for the purpose of the matching grants which is aimed at improving smallholder farmers and integrated value chains in selected counties.
“We started this process since September 2019 and we have received expressions of interest from several firms that Delloite was successful after evaluation,” he said.
He said the grant will benefit approximately 17,000 smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in Liberia.