It was a joyous weekend for 300 members of the Dokondan Farmers’ Cooperative, who are cultivating lowland rice at the Gbendi rice project in Nimba County, when an agreement was struck between them and the management of Fabrar, Liberia’s largest rice processing company to purchase their paddy rice on a long-term basis. This deal was made possible through a loan guarantee fund under the Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA), a USAID funded project in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) through the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI). An ongoing issue got resolved after several discussions over many months, between the MoA and LADA, by agreeing to purchase about 200 metric tons of seed rice, now paddy, from the cooperative.
Liberian Agriculture Minister Mr. Moses Zinnah told the farmers, “considering your potential to produce rice, we made a commitment to you when we took over at the Ministry that we would build your capacity to produce more rice. The Ministry’s role is not to grow food but ensure the enabling environment to make you continue to farm and raise income. So, with the assistance from LADA, we secured a loan from LBDI to enable Fabrar to purchase your paddy. This makes us very grateful to the people and Government of America.” He further informed, “Henceforth, Fabrar will work with you in buying your rice always. We intend to make your business sustainable as you work with the commercial banks to access loans.” Minister Zinnah added that the Ministry is encouraging the private sector to work with farmers to create a sustainable agriculture sector. The Minister promised to provide the farmers with some mechanized equipment and improve the Gbendi farmers’ warehouse standard so as to provide quality rice for the markets.