To ensure that agribusinesses are adequately capacitated to improve the economy through food access and job creation, the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has begun empowering several agribusinesses in the country.
Most agribusinesses in Liberia still lack the capacity to supply more products for the domestic market to improve food security.
As part of the empowerment initiative, a grant of US$295,751.00 was provided to 109 agribusinesses in the formal and informal sectors. The grant was unveiled at a recent program held at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Monrovia.
The grant is in fulfillment of the MOA’s COVID-19 recovery plan that ensures food and nutrition security and livelihood improvements for smallholder farmers and other actors of the food value chains to mitigate the shock of the global pandemic.
In an effort to develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the various value chains, the MOA, through its Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) funded by the World Bank, launched the agribusiness matching grants to support agribusinesses.
The objective of the grant is to help increase the capacity of SMEs to engage in agribusiness market linkages in vegetables, rice, cassava and oil palm.
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak that greatly affected the agriculture sector due to stringent measures introduced by the government to contain the spread of the virus, the MOA in June 2020 developed the emergency plan to assist people in the agriculture sector. The plan is now yielding results as many agribusinesses are being empowered.
Speaking during the grant award ceremony on Saturday, January 23, 2021, Agriculture Minister Jeanine Milly Cooper challenged the beneficiary agribusinesses to use the grant provided to create more jobs for other citizens.
She said for the agriculture sector to develop, the capacity of food processors, aggregators, inputs suppliers and other value chains must be built. According to her, the administration of President George
Weah is doing all it can to ensure transformation in the agriculture sector.
Minister Cooper said that over the past months, her ministry has been distributing different kinds of agriculture inputs to enable farmers improve their crops’ yield and incomes.
“I am proud that the COVID-19 recovery plan that we developed last year is yielding tangible results. There are just more coming after this process. We want to encourage you do make maximum use of the opportunity to boost food production by putting the money to use,” she admonished the beneficiaries during the program.
Meanwhile, the beneficiary businesses owners have thanked the government for assisting them to improve their businesses. They have however, asked the government to further improve their capacities with loans so that they can produce more for the domestic market and for export.