U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac officially launched the construction of a ‘feeder road’ from Bahn-Payee-Zuoplay in Nimba County, describing the groundbreaking ceremony as the beginning of a major commitment by the U.S. Government to support farm-to-market road rehabilitation in Liberia.
The recent occasion was attended by over 350 government officials, including Liberia’s Minister of Public Works, Antoinette Weeks, local officials, and farmers, who all turned a spade of dirt to mark the start of the road’s rehabilitation.
Addressing the audience, Ambassador Malac said: “Between now and 2018, we intend to rehabilitate up to 500 kilometers of roads. These are farm-to-market roads that will connect agriculture production to commercial centers, helping to keep Liberians fed.
She said that the road will also connect people to hospitals, schools, and communities.”
According to her, the project is important because the road’s rehabilitation will make travel easier for local residents.
“Not only are we rehabilitating roads; we are partnering with Liberian businesses to do so. These roads rehabilitation by Liberian firms are meant for Liberian development. I am happy to recognize 21st Century Engineering, which won the contract for Nimba County and is here today for this ceremony. I’d also like to recognize SSF Entrepreneurs and Westwood Corporation, which are rehabilitating roads in Lofa and Bong Counties, as well as the other Liberian firms, which competed for these contracts and will compete again,” she said.
Ambassador Malac praised Minister Weeks and her ministry for being closely involved in the project throughout the process, saying that the U.S. Government will continue to collaborate with the Ministry to ensure the roads’ maintenance and sustainability.
“The people of the United States stand by our Liberian friends in agriculture and economic development to reduce poverty and achieve food security,” Ambassador Malac said,
The Farm to Market Road Rehabilitation is a USAID/Liberia umbrella activity designed to provide infrastructure support to other USAID projects and to support capacity-building of local Liberian construction companies, Architecture and Engineering (A&E) firms, and public-sector engineers.
The project is aimed at benefiting 100,000 smallholder farmers in Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties, through the improvement of access roads in support of USAID’s efforts towards food security and agriculture development.
It is also meant to develop sustainable routine maintenance systems throughout Liberia and to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Public Works, and private sector A&E firms, for planning, design, and supervision of construction services of rural roads and bridges.