The National Rice Federation of Liberia (NRFL) terms as “totally inaccurate and unbalanced” a May 2nd article in the Heritage Newspaper, accusing Agriculture Minister of favoring Fabrar, a local rice producer, over other rice farmers to benefit from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP’s) cash collateral scheme for rice farmers and producers.
The NRFL is an umbrella body of all rice farmers, valued chain actors in Liberia and also part of the West Africa Rice Federation.
According to a press release, the Federation in March signed a MOU with the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Finance in which the GoL will make available US$700,000 to Afriland First Bank Liberia Limited as collateral for domestic rice processors at terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties concerned with the Ministry of Agriculture as sector lead for agriculture and the Ministry of Justice serving as legal arm of the government.
The president of NRFL, Mohammed Kamara, noted that neither the Ministry of Agriculture nor its Minister plays a role in deciding who benefits from such cash scheme, noting, “The agreement was signed between the MFDP, NRFL and the Afrikland Bank”.
He said if the MFDP makes the cash collateral available at the bank, the NRFL will submit the listing of rice producers to the bank for loan to boost local production.“The bank will independently scrutinize farmers and producers’ applications in line with its terms and conditions before granting such credit facilities”.
He continues that the Agriculture Minister, Jeanine Cooper, has nothing to do with the process and no rice producer has been selected to benefit from the cash collateral at the bank, contrary to reports in the media.
The release says since the appointment of Madam Jeanine Cooper as Minister of Agriculture, the NRFL has been working closely with the ministry to improve the sector, urging media institutions to always balance stories about the entity and the rice sector in Liberia. Press Release