The Government of Liberia in partnership with stakeholders in the agriculture sector celebrates the launch of the USAID Feed the Future Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity’s cash voucher scheme aimed at distributing quality rice seeds among 1,500 rice farmers in Bong, Nimba and Lofa Counties, respectively.
LADA, a five-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) includes series of trainings, technical assistance and investment grants to support technology upgrade and streamlining of supply chains, increasing participation of women entrepreneurs, and boost domestic and international market access to make rice, cassava, vegetables, cocoa, and aquaculture profitable and competitive.
As part of efforts to complement the Ministry of Agriculture efforts in mitigating the risk of food security impact from the COVID-19 crisis, LADA distributes agricultural inputs to smallholder rice producers to enable them remain on the production cycle during the pandemic.
The program targets approximately 1,500 food insecure and progressive rice producers in the three counties. The beneficiaries received quality rice seeds through community agricultural input voucher fairs.
USAID launched the first seeds distribution fair in Melekee, Jorquelleh District, Bong County, which brought together public-private stakeholders including farmers, agro-dealers, processors and government officials.
Speaking during the ceremony, Agriculture Minister Jeanine M. Cooper said “empowering smallholder farmers most especially during the coronavirus pandemic is essential to enable them overcome the economic shock of the virus as well as make Liberia reduce its dependence on rice imports.”
Minister Cooper: “Although there are challenges confronting agriculture and food security, we are able as a country to produce our staple food to enable more food supply to many Liberians, especially the vulnerable households. We therefore thank USAID-LADA for buttressing government’s effort to distribute quality seed rice within our major rice producing counties. Farmers can now grow the rice and Government can assure them that the rice they produce will be bought at a reasonable price to supply the market”. Editing by Jonathan Browne