USAID Weightlifting Agriculture Sector -Poised to Pump $20m in Food Security, Economic Growth

MONROVIA: Liberia’s food security efforts have, from days immemorial, proved unsuccessful despite enormous resources committed to the agriculture sector by national and international partners. It is said the Ministry of Agriculture is the biggest recipient of external financial, logistical and manpower development supports, perhaps next to, or the same as, the Ministry of Health. Besides the fact that the country continues to rather ironically do poorly despite all the supports, another oxymoron is also that the country is unable to feed itself, importing its staple, rice, with all the patronizing natural assets—fertile soil and relatively better climatic or weather conditions. It seems one of the key agriculture sector’s traditional partners, USAID, is now going deep to the root of the paradox, ready to surmount the challenges, as The Analyst reports.

The United States, through its Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Liberia, on May 22, 2024, signed co-investment grants to improve food crop production, processing, and marketing.

The grants under the portfolio are co-investments made with eleven agricultural cooperatives and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Bong, Nimba, Montserrado and Grand Bassa counties.

This initiative is a part of the $20-million “Feed the Future Liberia Food Security, Nutrition and Resilience” project funded by USAID, which aims to enhance agriculture-led economic growth, food security, and nutrition.

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global initiative to end poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

This first cohort of co-investment grants, totaling $450,000, will leverage private sector investment of $340,000, designed to enhance food crop productivity and create job opportunities, thereby contributing to Liberia’s overall economic expansion.

“We are thrilled to partner with local cooperatives and SMEs to drive private-sector-led agricultural growth and development in Liberia,” said Jim Wright, USAID Liberia Mission Director. “Today’s event is a testament to the power of partnership and collaboration.”

They intend to expand their agricultural operations, thereby increasing their production capacity and creating more employment opportunities within the community.

The tangible outcome of the grant is a testament to its potential.

One of the sub-grantees, Say No to Hunger Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative, has outlined ambitious plans for the use of the grant.

Mr. P. Ezekiel Sayeteeng, Executive Director of Say No to Hunger Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative, expressed his gratitude for USAID’s support and his excitement for the future prospects.

The co-investment grants program is part of a broader strategy to support economic development in Liberia.

The United States aims to stimulate innovation, enhance competitiveness, and drive sustainable economic growth by partnering with local businesses. This initiative also aligns with the Liberian government’s goals to strengthen the private sector and reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic development.

The signing ceremony, held at the Say No to Hunger Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative facility in Nimba County, was attended by key stakeholders, including government officials and representatives from the private sector.

The event highlighted the importance of collaboration and partnership in achieving development goals and showcased the potential of Liberia’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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