Some rice processing institutions have begun receiving money from the Afriland Bank Liberia Limited through the National Rice Federation of Liberia (NRFL) to enhance the production and processing of rice.
It can be recalled that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) signed a cash collateral loan scheme of US$400,000 with the NRFL to boost the purchase of harvested rice from smallholder farmers by processors.
The disbursement process has begun with the selection of processing institutions by Afriland First Bank for funding deposited by the Government of Liberia through the MFDP.
In a press release, the NRFL appreciates the government for the timely initiative by empowering local processors and farmers to ensure that they have access to funding to continue to buy paddy rice from smallholders.'
The organization also wants to appeal to the GOL through the MFDP to pay the balance of US$300,000 to Afriland First Bank Liberia limited who manages the fund for onward disbursement to the processors.
Mohammed Kamara, President of the NRFL expressed his institution's commitment to work with the beneficiary processors to make sure that loans are used for the intended purposes.
"We would like to encourage all beneficiaries' institution to adhere to the contract that was signed by the processing institution and Afriland First Bank Liberia, according to payment terms to ensure continued support by our government in the fight against hunger and empowering local processors and producers for economic viability and sustainability," he said.
Access to finance is critical for the growth of the agricultural sector, but it still remains a challenge for many smallholder farmers and agricultural value chain in Liberia. This is due to the unwillingness by commercial banks to give out loans because of risk factors. Smallholder farmers, particularly lack collateral to access loans from commercial banks to boost the production of the crops.