Monrovia – The Afriland First Bank, a major Liberian commercial bank focused on Small Medium Enterprise (SME) and agricultural lending, on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the USAID Feed the Future Liberian Agribusiness Development Activity (FtF LADA).
Report by Edwin Genoway, Jr – [email protected]
FTF LADA is a USAID project focused on increasing the incomes of small holder farmers (SHFs) through private sector investment in agribusiness.
The signing ceremony took place between Afriland First Bank represented by Mr. Hamadou O. Bayo, Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) and FtF LADA represented by it Chief of Party, Mr. Daniel Gies.
The signing of the agreement was held at Afriland First Bank head office in Monrovia.
The General Manager of the Afriland First Bank, Amadou Bayo promised provide financial aid to the agriculture sector mainly to farmers in Liberia at all time.
“We are here to provide aid to the agriculture sector and the Afriland First Bank is proud to work with the LADA in making the works of farmers easier in Liberia,” said Bayo.
The agreement clarifies the role of both parties to give companies and organizations engaged in agribusiness greater access to finance.
“There currently exists constraints and challenges with access to finance for a great deal of organizations and individuals engaged in agribusiness,” Gies of FtF LADA said.
He promised to help farmers around the country augment their farming process beginning with Lofa and Nimba Counties.
Gies added: “The lack of finance makes it difficult for farmers to pay for good agro-inputs or to repay embedded credit.”
He said the agreement is his entity and the Afriland Bank way of solving problems that are affecting farmers.
The MOU provides the framework for FTF LADA and Afriland First Bank to solve the constraints together, so that the agribusinesses in Liberia receive easier access to financing and more appropriate loan products.
The purpose of the financial instrument is to work with farmers to improve the quality, quantity and marketing of locally-produced rice by importing up to US$2M of processing equipment, unlocking financing opportunities for Liberian agro-dealers, processors and aggregators.
The agreement will also ensure that these focused actors have access to investment credit and working capital if they are to maintain inventories sufficient to meet client demand during peak growing seasons.
“Afriland First Bank, as one of the most active agricultural lenders in Liberia, is an optimal partner for FTF LADA due to their high skills in lending to agriculture.”
“We are proud to sign this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and will remain in effect from now until February 2019,” Gies noted.
Gies added that it is the dream of the NGO to improve the lives of farmers which will help bring value to the country’s farming sector.
The Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity is being implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) and is supported and funded by USAID.
Its focus is to increase the income of smallholder farmers through increasing private sector investment in agricultural inputs; private sector investment in post- harvest handling and auxiliary services and providing strengthened facilitation, market information, advocacy and support to agribusinesses.