Liberia to Increase Productivity, Market Access for Farmers, Agri-Enterprises

Monrovia — The World Bank Board has approved a new financing to increase productivity and market access for smallholder farmers and agri-enterprises in Liberia.

This new financing targets 60,000 persons, 50 percent of whom are women, mainly smallholder farmers and agri-entrepreneurs (private agribusiness investors, cooperatives, and SME processing or providing other services to agri-food systems) who are engaged in the selected value chains.

Funded by the International Development Association (IDA), this US$55 million credit financing will seek to address challenges for developing agri-food value chains and pave the way for rural economic transformation.

This Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP) will use a multi-level approach to strengthen critical institutions responsible for overseeing the development of the agricultural sector and provide key services for producers and processors, according to a World Bank release issued in Monrovia.

It said RETRAP will also build capacity at various stages of the value chain and support investment with new technologies and practices to increase productivity and ensure resilience to climate change.

"This new project fulfills the Bank's commitment to support Liberia in transforming the agriculture sector by scaling up the level of financing and deploying the resources in a holistic way, including through an intervention for improving rural road infrastructure," said Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager in Liberia.

The project will strengthen institutional capacity of beneficiary institutions to deliver agribusiness support services and build capacity and provide support, including technical assistance for adoption of new technologies and practices that will increase productivity of the food system and its resilience to climate change.

These institutions include the Ministry of Agriculture, Central Agricultural Research Institute - Soil and Crop Laboratory, National Standards Laboratory of Liberia, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and service providers engaged in implementing the project.

According to Co-Task Team Leaders Dr. Adetunji A. Oredipe and John Kobina Richardson: "The RETRAP will focus on improved production of cassava, rubber, poultry, and pigs, and assists farmers to strengthen their position within the value chain, not only by expanding their skills but also through improved access to farm products and financing.

About 12,000 farmers are targeted to be reached with agricultural assets or services, and the project interventions are expected to result in a 30% increase in yield of targeted value chains over the next five years," they said.

The RETRAP will improve rural access and agricultural marketing by upgrading roads and modernizing selected rural markets and will be implemented in 11 of Liberia's 15 counties: Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Kru, Margibi, Montserrado, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and Maryland counties.

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