(Left) Mohammed Kamara, Mrs. Watchen Bruce of LADA and John Selma of the Selma Agriculture Cooperation.
LADA Signs Capacity-Building Accord With Farmers
VOINJAMA, February 22 (LINA) - The Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to upgrade the capacity of two rice processors in Lofa County.
The two processors are Mohammed Kamara of the “Agriculture Infrastructures Investment Company and John Selma of the “Selma Agriculture Development Corporation.”
LADA is a US$20 million agriculture project sponsored by the United States Government under the Feed the Future global food security initiative with the goal to increase agricultural income through investment in the Liberian agri-business sector in Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Montserrado Counties.
A LADA release notes that the signing ceremony coincided with the opening of LADA’s Lofa County field office in Voinjama and was attended by Lofa County Superintendent George Dunor, other local authorities, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers as well as rice processors in that part of the country.
Addressing the recent program in Voinjama, LADA Private Sector Advisor Watchen Harris Bruce said that initiative will transform the processors into industrial rice processors to provide quality and standard rice for both the local and international markets.
The release quotes her as saying that LADA intends to industrialize rice production in Liberia in order to improve the incomes of small holder farmers.
She said the selected processors are currently processing two metric tons of rice daily, but that with the provision of the industrial milling equipment, the processors will have the capacity to process 10 metric tons of rice per day, adding that it will create market opportunity for several farming communities.
“As we sign this agreement today, we are beginning to procure the rice mills to get the processors begin operation very soon. The agreement is on a 50 percent cost share arrangement that allows the processors to take full ownership of their businesses,” she indicated.
According to Mrs. Bruce, Liberia was spending more money on rice importation and so it was necessary to build the capacity of local processors to help reduce rice importation.
“There are plans to build the capacities of additional processors in our targeted counties during the life span of our project to enhance rice processing,” she disclosed.
In remarks, Lofa County Superintendent George Dunor thanked LADA for helping local farmers and asked beneficiaries to make maximum use of the opportunity.
“Our county is still striving to regain its status as the bread basket; so you as citizens must know that you are accountable to appropriately use the resources provided to ensure continuous assistance from partners,” he cautioned.
Representing the Ministry of Agriculture at the program was the County Agriculture Coordinator of Lofa, Theophilius Baah, who promised his office’s commitment in working with the rice processors to access better markets for farmers.
Mohammed Kamara and John Selma said they are grateful to LADA for the opportunity and expressed optimism in working with farmers to improve their income through processing.
Meanwhile, LADA has refurbished the shop of a local agro-dealer in
Voinjama city to reach farmers with the necessary services.
The shop is equipped with various agro-chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and other farming implements.