US$16M Funding for Agriculture: What It means for Liberian Farmers

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Flashback: Farmers in Boinsen District, Bong County, conducting the harvest of 252 acres of upland rice.

Access to loans still remains a serious challenge for many Liberian farmers as commercial banks in the country are not willing to lend farmers money. This is due to the fact that many farmers lack adequate collateral to be considered bankable.  

To ensure that many farmers have access to loan to expand and increase production, President George M. Weah has announced a US$16 million grant from the World Bank to support smallholder farmers.

According to the Liberian President, the funding will be made available through the commercial banks to be given as loans to farmers at a reasonable interest rate.

The President made the pronouncement on Friday, February 12, 2021, when he launched this year’s National Agriculture Fair at the Central Agriculture Research Institution (CARI), in Suakoko, Bong County.

He said that farmers who are primarily engaged in to rice, cocoa, oil palm and rubber are to receive the loans.

“In collaboration with our partner, the World Bank, I am pleased to announce that US$16 million funding has been made available to support private sector farming in Liberia, which includes small and large scale farming. I am therefore asking the Ministry of Agriculture to begin the process of providing a complete database of all farmers in the areas of rice, cocoa, oil palm and rubber,” he said.

President Weah has promised that agriculture is a priority for his administration. However, support for the sector is not enough, especially when it comes to allocation in the national budget. Most of the money for agriculture comes from external sources as loans or grants.

The President, during the National Agricultural Fair, said that a technical committee comprising the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce, Finance, Ministry of State, Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency will work with the banks to ensure the selection of qualified farmers for the disbursement of the fund.

He used the occasion to call on lawmakers to make better appropriation in the national budget for agriculture, something he said he will be willing to affix his signature to.

During the fair, Nimba County District #2 Representative and chairperson on the House Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Prince O.S. Tokpa, outlined a number of issues confronting agriculture and expressed the urgent need to address these challenges to move the sector forward.

In response, President George Weah said budgetary allotment is done by the Legislature and that Representative Tokpah is in the best position to increase the budget for Agriculture.

“I’m glad that you are in support of mechanized farming, but you have to take the lead as budgetary appropriation is the responsibility of the lawmakers. Once you want us to increase the budget for agriculture, I will surely agree with you,” the President emphatically stated.

Representative Tokpa, in an exclusive interview with our reporter, promised to lobby with his colleagues to allot 10% of the country’s total national budget for agriculture in line with the Malabo Declaration for Food and Nutrition Security.

“The President has said that agriculture is a priority; so, as lawmakers, we will ensure that the sector is better supported to reduce poverty in the lives of farmers and make the country food secured,” said Rep. Tokpah.

Liberia as a nation is yet to align with the Malabo Declaration for Food and Nutrition Security that calls for every African Government to allot 10 percent in its national budget as support agriculture.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Rice Federation of Liberia (NRFL), Mohammed Kamara, has welcomed the initiative of the Liberian government to assist farmers.

He told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that Liberian farmers are happy about the opportunity, adding that it helps farmers to increase production.

“We are pleased with the initiative of the Government to provide money for farmers to improve production but would like to see this done in a timely manner,” Kamara said.

Kamara added that there is a need that the government sits with farmers, particularly with the leadership of the rice sector to derive means as to how the members of his sector would benefit from the amount announced and other opportunities that may come.  

5 COMMENTS

  1. more money for chopping. Nothing will come of it. no rice farm no cassava farm just B*ullsh*t

    • It seems whenever the issue of agriculture comes out in Liberia, the only thing most Liberians think about is rice; Liberia’s stable food. Let’s be reminded. Agriculture covers a variety of animals and plants; including of course, rubber. Becoming a sustainable agricultural economy doesn’t necessarily mean that a nation, Liberia must; for the most part produce rice only. Our next door neighbor, Cote D’ivoire has a sustainable agricultural economy. Yes! Indeed. They are progressing very well. However, Cote D’ivoire too does not produce enough rice locally. The money Cote D’ivoire earns from other agricultural products is more than enough to offset the money spent on imported rice and some other food products. We in Liberia can produce enough Cocoa, Coffee, Palm Oil… to offset/subsidize the cost of imported rice. As such, we too may progress just as well. We are blessed, to have the presence of
      Coca Cola in Liberia. Coke is one of the World’s biggest buyers and distributor of Cocoa and Coffee. Then, there is The United States which is a big rice producing country. As a matter of fact, The U.S once filled Liberia’s need for rice with ease at a very reasonable price. If we can get Coca Cola, USA to buy our Cocoa and Coffee; then we in return guarantee Liberia’s rice market to the USA; as before, Liberia would be a lot better off. *IF THAT SHOULD OR WOULD BE THE CASE, WE WILL BE SAVING OUR OUR MUCH “NEEDED” [RAINFOREST]. Rice cultivation to feed Liberia’s growing population requires a large amount of land. I won’t advice we clear our [RAINFOREST] to cultivate rice. That’s a recipe 😜 for disaster. The possibilities for massive droughts are very much eminent. Sustainable rice farming in Liberia should be concentrated on swamp/wetlands. LET’S SAVE OUR MUCH NEEDED 💞🙂 RAINFOREST. THERE CAN NOT BE A LIBERIA WITH OUT THE RAINFOREST.

  2. Why can’t our government fund our own agriculture programs. US did this, US did that. Gimme Gimme…

    1847 to now …we still seeking help

  3. You can give even 1 Billion dollars to these rascals. There will still be no rice farms because they will steal the entire sum. Its just a waste of time with the caliber of men heading our government. They are just dishonest, care free, and know nothing about development but to steal. Don’t entrust them with money. Send experts on the ground to do the job.

  4. Liberia’s international partners absolutely have been good to Liberia, but Liberia’s leaders, elected and appointed, have not been good and truthful to Liberia and our people. US$16,000,000 grant for Liberia’s farmers and agriculture? How much of this amount of money will be actually committed to farmers and agriculture in Liberia?

    During the days of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Government, she boasted of having US$19 billion invested in Liberia by foreign companies and investors, but you just need to visit Liberia and you will wonder if any investment dollars were ever invested in Liberia as claimed and boasted by Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Government. Liberia and our people are wealthy country and people, but poorly conducted and managed. This has been Liberia’s case since Liberia got her independence on July 26, 1847, to today. Government-after-Government in Liberia has done nothing, but abused, suffered Liberia, and taken our citizens for ride.

    Can you image, Government-after-Government, since the 1989-2003, war time, has insanely been recklessly engaged with monthly paying for phone cards, gasoline, and fuel oil and perhaps, housing for Ministers, deputy Ministers, Director, and deputy director, working and earning between US$10,000-US$25,000 per month.

    One good reason why Liberia, has no roads, healthcare, affordable schools, cannot feed herself and people, and what have you. I am certain, no opposition leader, is prepared and ready to speak to this terrible issue.

    Why would and should they when they are simply waiting for their time?

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