EYEAFRICA TV: The European Investment Bank is planning to support increased rice production in Liberia.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the bank said the program aims to support the entire rice value chain improving rice production, building irrigation, upgrading food laboratories and enhancing warehousing and logistics.
The 4 million euros investment program is expected to be launched next year with the feasibility studies being financed by a grant from the European Development Fund under the Africa Investment Platform.
The first support is expected to cover the entire value chain including rice production, storage and distribution. It will also back seed production, irrigation, warehousing and logistics.
Liberia’s agriculture minister, Jeanine M. Cooper, earlier signed the agreement in Monrovia to prepare detailed feasibility studies to identify current challenges and assess investment priorities.
The ambitious program is expected to improve food security in the West African nation and create jobs in these times of unprecedented global shocks.
Following the signing of the agreement, agriculture minister Cooper said Liberia is highly vulnerable to global food shocks due to the majority of its population depending on imported rice.
According to him, the basis for the cooperation is to strengthen food security and reduce the impact of the Ukraine war and its spillover effects on the country.
Liberia’s food security and production challenge is similar to those of most African countries, most of which are entirely dependent on imported rice and other food products.
But minister Cooper hopes that the partnership with the European Investment Bank and the European Union will boost local rice production, create private sector jobs across the country and reduce agricultural dependency on other countries.
Deputy Minister for budget development at Liberia’s Ministry of Finance and Development, Tanneh G. Brunson said the investment will accelerate sustainable development and avoid food price shocks.
Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President assured that the Bank is committed to scaling up investment to strengthen food security, improve domestic agricultural production, create jobs and reduce the impact of global food supply shocks on local consumers.
He revealed that the feasibility studies will identify priority investment that can transform rice production in Liberia and enable large scale financing across the sector over the coming months.
Laurent Delahousse, European Union Ambassador to Liberia underlined the Russia attack on Ukraine to have consequences on food and commodity prices all over the world, including Liberia.
He assured that the European Union recognised the importance of supporting local rice production to reduce the country’s dependency on rice imports and increase local rice production.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States.
It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.