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CNFA/LADA Launch Digital Financial Services Platform in Nimba County

CNFA/LADA Launch Digital Financial Services Platform in Nimba County

Ganta, Nimba County - Cultivating New frontiers in Agriculture and the Liberia Agro-business development Activity has officially opened its field office in Ganta, Nimba County with the launching of a Digital Financial Services.

Speaking at the ceremony on Wednesday September 21, 2016 at a local Hotel in the commercial city of Ganta, Liberia Agro- business development activity Chief of Party Daniel Gies said with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, LADA hopes to build an infrastructure that will support increase sales and markets for Thousands of Liberian farmers who can work and produce but lack market access for their produce.

Mr. Gies said, the Liberia Agro-business development activity will introduce a scale of processing aggregation and agriculture inputs to enable farmers have good market and earn more money because the LADA project is about increasing investment in the agriculture sector to build the capacity of farmers.

Mr. Gies said, while in Nimba County for the next four years, the project hopes to work with its partners and stakeholders in bringing new level of energies and innovations in making the project successful.

New Beginning

Also speaking at the program, the private sector Advisor of the Liberia Agro- business development activity Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce who presented the Digital financial services platform described the initiative as not only a great opportunity but a new beginning in the improvement of the agriculture sector of the Country.

Mrs. Bruce said, the Digital financial services will ensure access to finance for farmers and ensure farmers pay back grants on time.

She said, the Liberia Agro- business development activity is operating in three code investment areas including Rice, Cassava and vegetable and hope to add Cocoa and fisheries in the future.

She said, the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture and the Liberia Agro- business development activity were undertaking these activities in small and medium size development in the agriculture sector through two main activities.

Mrs. Bruce named the activities as a comparative marching grant program and the provision of demand driven technical assistance to beneficiaries in order to develop and expand their businesses.

She said, through these activities, LADA will make grant investment available to existing private enterprises in the agriculture sector including Agro-input dealers, suppliers as well as machinery service providers, storage facilities and small and medium size processors.

She disclosed that the Liberia Agro- business development activity will also provide technical assistance and capacity building to its grantees and non-grantees to ensure sustainability and improve their management skills and operations. She said, her organization will further help farmers and facilitate improve linkages between various actors along the input supply chain, value chain and the end maker.

She said CIF is a competitive marching grant program within the LADA activity and the grants will serve as a vigor for introducing new technology and business model like the digital financial services.

She said LADA hopes to replicate the services in its other project counties if the pilot in Nimba County becomes successful.

The LADA private sector Advisor furthered that the main goal of the code investment fund is to provide marching investment grant for private investment in projects supporting the agriculture value. 

She said, the estimated total value of loan to be provided is Nine Point Five Million Liberia Dollars (L$9,500,000) or Ninety Seven Thousand US Dollars (US$97,000).

She said the memorandum of understanding for the Digital financial services platform signed amongst LADA, the Liberia Entrepreneur and Asset Development LEAD, Cellcom and the Gbehlay-Geh Rural Women Cooperative as the result of several assessments conducted in Kahnplay Nimba.

Mrs. Bruce said, although the Gbehlay-Geh Rural Women Cooperative has a membership of more than three hundred, only fifty seven will initially participate in the initiative.

For her part, the Director in the office of Economic Growth at USAID Jennifer A. Tikka said, across the world, the Feed the Future initiative is working with partner countries to reduce poverty and under nutrition.

She said Feed the Future has been in Liberia since 2011 and is working with smallholder farmers and small businesses in Nimba and other focus counties to enable smallholder farmers and households to lift themselves out of poverty and be empowered to pay for things like nutrition food, education and health care.

Madam Tikka said LADA will focus mainly on increasing income of smallholder farmers by promoting private sector investment in agriculture, including agro- dealers, aggregators and women and youth in the post production of agricultural goods.

She said, LADA will serve its beneficiaries for Five years and during this period, it will significantly affect the lives of small holder farmers in Nimba and other focus counties as well as across Liberia.

She said, she was thrilled that LDA was introducing the digital financial services platform which is an innovative approach to reducing the costs of transaction by smallholder farmers and small businesses that are so crucial to economic growth in their communities and across Liberia.

She noted that for the providers, the payment and transfer services and the data generated by customer usage can enable them to offer additional financial services tailored to customer needs.

Madam Tikka said, at USAID they believe that access to finance for LDA beneficiaries and an efficient method for repayment will encourage individuals to participate in agribusiness and for this reason, USAID supports the collaboration between LADA and banks and microfinance institutions to facilitate access to fiancé through mechanisms such as Digital Financial Services.

For his part, Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah disclosed that one major challenge facing Liberia’s Agriculture sector is the value chain approach. Dr. Zinnah described his presence at the program as a demonstration of the Liberian government’s commitment to working with partners to improve the agriculture sector.

Dr. Zinnah further assured that the Ministry of Agriculture will look in its budget to assist the LDA project with some interventions at the appropriate time. He said the Ministry of Agriculture is always prepared for serious collaboration with partners to improve the agriculture sector.

Several farmers who spoke to this paper during the program commended the US Government through USAID as well as CNFA/LADA for the project and expressed the confidence that it will take Liberia’s agriculture sector to another level.

The program was attended by scores of local government officials of Nimba County including Ganta City Mayor Ben Dokpah.

The Liberia Agro-business Development Association is a US $19.3 million USAID/ Feed The Future activity which is being implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). Its other partners are Business Start- up Center Monrovia, Enclude, and Global Cold Chain Alliance.

LADA will be implemented for five years in three Feed the Future counties of Bong, Nimba, Lofa and some parts of Montserrado County.

LADA was launched on April 13, 2016 by its Chief of Party, Daniel Gies, CNFA executives, USAID and the government of Liberia.

Cultivating New frontiers in Agriculture and the Liberia Agro-business development Activity has officially opened its field office in Ganta, Nimba County with the launching of a Digital Financial Services.

Speaking at the ceremony on Wednesday September 21, 2016 at a local Hotel in the commercial city of Ganta, Liberia Agro- business development activity Chief of Party Daniel Gies said with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, LADA hopes to build an infrastructure that will support increase sales and markets for Thousands of Liberian farmers who can work and produce but lack market access for their produce.

Mr. Gies said, the Liberia Agro-business development activity will introduce a scale of processing aggregation and agriculture inputs to enable farmers have good market and earn more money because the LADA project is about increasing investment in the agriculture sector to build the capacity of farmers.

Mr. Gies said, while in Nimba County for the next four years, the project hopes to work with its partners and stakeholders in bringing new level of energies and innovations in making the project successful.

New Beginning

Also speaking at the program, the private sector Advisor of the Liberia Agro- business development activity Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce who presented the Digital financial services platform described the initiative as not only a great opportunity but a new beginning in the improvement of the agriculture sector of the Country.

Mrs. Bruce said, the Digital financial services will ensure access to finance for farmers and ensure farmers pay back grants on time.

She said, the Liberia Agro- business development activity is operating in three code investment areas including Rice, Cassava and vegetable and hope to add Cocoa and fisheries in the future.

She said, the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture and the Liberia Agro- business development activity were undertaking these activities in small and medium size development in the agriculture sector through two main activities.

Mrs. Bruce named the activities as a comparative marching grant program and the provision of demand driven technical assistance to beneficiaries in order to develop and expand their businesses.

She said, through these activities, LADA will make grant investment available to existing private enterprises in the agriculture sector including Agro-input dealers, suppliers as well as machinery service providers, storage facilities and small and medium size processors.

She disclosed that the Liberia Agro- business development activity will also provide technical assistance and capacity building to its grantees and non-grantees to ensure sustainability and improve their management skills and operations. She said, her organization will further help farmers and facilitate improve linkages between various actors along the input supply chain, value chain and the end maker.

She said CIF is a competitive marching grant program within the LADA activity and the grants will serve as a vigor for introducing new technology and business model like the digital financial services.

She said LADA hopes to replicate the services in its other project counties if the pilot in Nimba County becomes successful.

The LADA private sector Advisor furthered that the main goal of the code investment fund is to provide marching investment grant for private investment in projects supporting the agriculture value. 

She said, the estimated total value of loan to be provided is Nine Point Five Million Liberia Dollars (L$9,500,000) or Ninety Seven Thousand US Dollars (US$97,000).

She said the memorandum of understanding for the Digital financial services platform signed amongst LADA, the Liberia Entrepreneur and Asset Development LEAD, Cellcom and the Gbehlay-Geh Rural Women Cooperative as the result of several assessments conducted in Kahnplay Nimba.

Mrs. Bruce said, although the Gbehlay-Geh Rural Women Cooperative has a membership of more than three hundred, only fifty seven will initially participate in the initiative.

For her part, the Director in the office of Economic Growth at USAID Jennifer A. Tikka said, across the world, the Feed the Future initiative is working with partner countries to reduce poverty and under nutrition.

She said Feed the Future has been in Liberia since 2011 and is working with smallholder farmers and small businesses in Nimba and other focus counties to enable smallholder farmers and households to lift themselves out of poverty and be empowered to pay for things like nutrition food, education and health care.

Madam Tikka said LADA will focus mainly on increasing income of smallholder farmers by promoting private sector investment in agriculture, including agro- dealers, aggregators and women and youth in the post production of agricultural goods.

She said, LADA will serve its beneficiaries for Five years and during this period, it will significantly affect the lives of small holder farmers in Nimba and other focus counties as well as across Liberia.

She said, she was thrilled that LDA was introducing the digital financial services platform which is an innovative approach to reducing the costs of transaction by smallholder farmers and small businesses that are so crucial to economic growth in their communities and across Liberia.

She noted that for the providers, the payment and transfer services and the data generated by customer usage can enable them to offer additional financial services tailored to customer needs.

Madam Tikka said, at USAID they believe that access to finance for LDA beneficiaries and an efficient method for repayment will encourage individuals to participate in agribusiness and for this reason, USAID supports the collaboration between LADA and banks and microfinance institutions to facilitate access to fiancé through mechanisms such as Digital Financial Services.

For his part, Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah disclosed that one major challenge facing Liberia’s Agriculture sector is the value chain approach. Dr. Zinnah described his presence at the program as a demonstration of the Liberian government’s commitment to working with partners to improve the agriculture sector.

Dr. Zinnah further assured that the Ministry of Agriculture will look in its budget to assist the LDA project with some interventions at the appropriate time. He said the Ministry of Agriculture is always prepared for serious collaboration with partners to improve the agriculture sector.

Several farmers who spoke to this paper during the program commended the US Government through USAID as well as CNFA/LADA for the project and expressed the confidence that it will take Liberia’s agriculture sector to another level.

The program was attended by scores of local government officials of Nimba County including Ganta City Mayor Ben Dokpah.

The Liberia Agro-business Development Association is a US $19.3 million USAID/ Feed The Future activity which is being implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). Its other partners are Business Start- up Center Monrovia, Enclude, and Global Cold Chain Alliance.

LADA will be implemented for five years in three Feed the Future counties of Bong, Nimba, Lofa and some parts of Montserrado County.

LADA was launched on April 13, 2016 by its Chief of Party, Daniel Gies, CNFA executives, USAID and the government of Liberia.

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