AfDB approves $5.12m financing for food production in Liberia

AfDB approves $5.12m financing for food production in Liberia

The Board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved $5.12 million in financing for Emergency Food Production Programme in Liberia.

The bank said in a statement on Thursday that this would pave the way for the Liberian government to support farmers as they increase climate-resilient food production and mitigate the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The funding includes a grant of $2.28 million and a loan of $2.84 million from the Bank Group’s Transition Support Facility.

Agriculture is a major part of Liberia’s economy, contributing about 26 per cent to its GDP.

The country’s major crops are rubber, rice, cassava, bananas and palm oil.

Cassava and rice are the primary staple food crops in Liberia.

Overall agricultural productivity, however, is low because of factors like weak basic infrastructure, farm equipment and inadequate roads.

There is also limited application of fertilisers and pesticides and inadequate food storage capacity.

The civil conflict the country experienced between 1989 and 2003 and the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015 compounded challenges even further.

Nearly 55 per cent of Liberia’s population is considered food insecure and childhood malnutrition is persistent.

Thirty-five per cent of children under five are currently stunted and 15 per cent of them are underweight.

The food production programme in Liberia is part of sector budget support under the AfDB’s African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF).

This facility is designed to increase climate-resilient food production for Africa’s farmers in the wake of such global shocks as the war in Ukraine and rising fuel and fertiliser prices.

The AEFPF will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds.

It will increase access to agricultural fertilisers and enable them to produce 38 million tons of food.

That would amount to a $12 billion increase in food production in two years.

The government will be able to provide subsidies to vulnerable farmers through the programme that runs from 2022 to 2024

It will create incentives for private sector investment in the inputs market without distorting the market.

The financing will also enable the government to facilitate farmers’ access to improved seeds and fertilisers.

“We welcome this timely approval, which will improve food and nutrition security in Liberia.

“We are also happy About the regulatory environment for climate-smart agriculture,” said AfDB’s country manager for Liberia, Benedict Kanu.

“With Liberians being greatest asset of the country, hardly any other priority could be more pressing than addressing food insecurity.

“And to safeguard their calorie and nutrition needs,” Kanu said.

The AEFPF has benefitted 26 countries in Africa with 26 programmes worth $1.257 billion.



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