U.S. Ambassador Madam Deborah Malac has launched the construction of a 'feeder road' connecting Bahn-Payee-Zuoplay in Nimba County, terming the groundbreaking ceremony the beginning of an important commitment by the U.S. Government to support farm-to-market road rehabilitation in Liberia.
The project is aimed at providing 100,000 people and smallholder farms in Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties with improved access to markets by rehabilitating rural roads in support of USAID's efforts toward food security and agriculture development
Ambassador Malac added that the aim is to develop sustainable routine maintenance systems throughout Liberia and strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Public Works and private sector A&E firms for design, and supervision of construction services of rural roads and bridges. Liberia's Minister of Public Works, Antoinette Weeks, local officials and farmers all turned a spade of dirt to mark the start of the road's rehabilitation in Nimba County.
According to a press release from the US Embassy in Monrovia, the Ambassador told an audience of 350 government officials, women's groups and farmers recently (April 3) that "Between now and 2018, we intend to rehabilitate up to 500 kilometers of roads.
These are farm-to-market roads that will bring agriculture production to commercial centers, helping to keep Liberians fed, and will also bring people to hospitals, schools, and communities." She described the project as important because not only road rehabilitation will make travel easier for local residents. "Not only will they be rehabilitating roads; they are partnering with Liberian businesses - these are Liberian roads rehabilitated by Liberian firms for Liberian development", said the Ambassador, and added: "I am happy to recognize 21st Century Engineering, which won the contract for Nimba County and is here today for this ceremony.
I'd also like to recognize S-S-F Entrepreneurs and Westwood Corporation, which are rehabilitating roads in Lofa and Bong Counties, as well as the other Liberian firms, which competed for these contracts and will compete again. This activity is about more than the money; it's about more than the roads; it is about a Liberian-led future."
She said the people of the United States stand by Liberians in agriculture and economic development, and reaffirm America's commitment to helping Liberia reduce poverty and achieve food security.
The Farm to Market Road Rehabilitation is a USAID/Liberia umbrella activity designed to provide infrastructure support to other USAID projects and to support capacity building of local Liberian construction companies, Architecture and Engineering (A&E) firms, and public sector engineers.
Ambassador Malac lauded Minister Weeks and her ministry for being closely involved in the project throughout the process, and said the U.S Government will continue to collaborate with the ministry to ensure maintenance and sustainability of the roads.