3 June 2019

Liberia: Govt to Increase Budget for Agriculture

President George Weah has reiterated agriculture as critical to the transformation of Liberia's economy. As such, the President said his administration is rationalizing government's expenditures to put more money to the sector to improve food security.

He made the pronouncement on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in his pre-recorded nationwide address.

The President presented his speech against the backdrop of the mounting economic hardship facing the country where prices of basic commodities are sharply rising to the detriment of ordinary citizens.

He added, "We are delivering a new and improved fiscal policy that will be announced with the passage of a credible national budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. In the last several years, we have passed a budget that exceed our revenues potentials. We are now working together with counterparts in other agencies of government to pass a realistic budget."

"To achieve this," the President said, "We will require sacrifices from all, because our actions will involve reform of our large wage bill, rationalizing government's spending to put more resources to critical areas like health, education and agriculture."

Experts in the sector said since the end of the Liberian civil crisis (1989-2003), the country's budget for agriculture is yet to align with the mandate of African leaders to allot 10 percent annually, this many stakeholders anticipate adherence.

Up to current, the budget for agriculture remains at 3 percent annually with additional funding coming from external sources such as the World Bank, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), African Development Bank and donor countries.

However, despite these external sources for agriculture, experts are of the opinion that growth in the sector still remain elusive as smallholder farmers are faced with numerous challenges.

It can be recalled that the President lamented the low agricultural productivity during his second annual message to the joint session of the 54th Legislature on Monday, January 28, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

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