The Minister of Commerce and Industry has asked Liberians to grow their own food and be able to eat what they produce in the wake of the World Bank's forecast of global price increase of food stuff.
Addressing the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular Thursday press briefing last week, the Commerce and Industry Minster Madam Miatta Beyslow disclosed the sad news that Liberia remains a food deficit Country because we import everything that we eat.
The Commerce Ministry boss intimated that only a third of this country's domestic consumption is home grown, noting that two third of Liberia's food is imported into the Country.
The warning that Liberians should grow more food came as a result of the reduction of cereal, soya bean and corn reduction on the American market which makes American consumers to turn to rice as a substitute.
"We notice that when cereal prices go up in the U.S American consumers resort to eating rice and as it happened in 2010 rice price goes up. We see the same pattern on the global market", she said.
The Commerce Minister also cited poor rain in Asia as a factor pushing the price of rice to go up, adding that corn prices have increased by 25 percent and the price of sugar has increased by 12 percent. She noted that as compared to last year, we have poor rain fall in Liberia this year
She said the demand for food and services are high, and another factor is the smuggling of rice to neighboring countries which she said is on the increase. "We want for you to pass on this information to others, our current stock will last us up to November and the pending consignment due this September will last us up to February, 2013." She observed.
According to Minister Beyslow, "what we keep on the market remains our concern. We have rice donations mainly from the United States through the USAID and from Japan under separate bilateral cooperation arrangements," she noted.
The Commerce Ministry boss said everything is being done to ensure self sufficiency in food production, adding that this is why the Agriculture Ministry has been significantly increased and there are extension services to it.
Minister Beyslow used the occasion to commend the Police and the Immigration for their vigilance in tracking down smuggling of rice out of the country. She however assured that there should be no cause for alarm as the rice presently in stock will last consumers up to February 2013.
Commenting on price control labels, the Minister said mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that Commerce Ministry price inspectors monitor the price of commodities on the market, Writes John Momoh.