President George M. Weah has submitted to the House of Representatives a US$55 million loan financing agreement for ratification titled “Rural Economic Transformation Project” between the Republic of Liberia and the International Development Association (IDA).
The agreement was submitted to the House on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, during the House’s regular session on Capitol Hill.
According to the President’s communication, IDA has agreed to extend to Liberia a credit, which is deemed as non-concessional financing in the amount of US$55 million to improve production and market access for smallholder farmers and agri-enterprise for selected value chains in project participation in counties.
The cover letter from the President that accompanied the loan agreement said the commitment charge rate is one-quarter of one percent (1/4 of 1%) per annum on the withdrawn credit balance. The principal payment dates are February 15 and August 15 yearly beginning August 15, 2031, through August 15, 2049, at 2.63%, and on February 15, 2050, at 2.69%.
According to President Weah, this agreement is in the best interest of the country and its ratification will help improve the economy as well as transform small market productivity. This agreement, according to the president’s letter, will empower smallholder farmers in some counties.
“Dear Mr. Speaker: I trust the Legislature will ratify this agreement which will improve productivity and market access for smallholder farmers in certain counties.”
Following the reading of the financing agreement, a motion was made, forwarding the instrument to the House’s joint committee on Public Accounts and Expenditures, Ways, Means, and Finance, Judiciary and Agriculture. The joint committee is expected to report to the Plenary for legislative action.
The agreement seeks to enable smallholders and commercially oriented farmers to improve their capacity, operate competitively in the selected value chains, and establish more reliable linkages with buyers, including preparing pre-investment activities, identifying opportunities for productive alliances among agri-enterprises, processors, commercial partners, identifying potential business opportunities for the productive alliances, preparing business plans and proposals for investment subprojects as well as building capacity of technical services providers to enhance quality the services provided to the productive alliances.
It also reflects on carrying out a program of agriculture investment activities yay would focus on modernizing individuals’ farm operations, enhancing productivity, reducing losses to meet market demands, empowering women through the provision of grants to eligible beneficiaries.
The loan will also be directed in improving access to markets through the rehabilitation of existing roads, construction of short span critical cross drainage structures, and modernization of selected agri-market.
It will enhance the capacity of selected public services that are critical for enabling agribusiness, within the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA) to improving the quality of their agribusiness services, among others. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor Editing by Jonathan Browne