USAID $ 19.3 million Project Trains Agro- dealers in Bong

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Gbarnga, Bong County-The Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday June 20, 2016 begun a weeklong training for Agro- dealers in management and the usage of Agro- Inputs at the Development Education Network Liberia in Gbarnga.

Speaking at the official opening of the training, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture and Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity private sector Advisor Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce said, LADA is a US $ 19.3 million USAID/ Feed the future activity implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture and its implementing partners Business Start- up Center Monrovia, Enclude, Global Cold Chain Alliance.

Mrs. Bruce said, the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity will be implemented for five years in the feed the future of Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Montserrado counties.
She explained that the goal of LADA is to increase private sector investment in the Liberian agribusiness sector and this will be done in three components.

She named component one as increasing private sector investment in the agriculture input systems while component will increase private sector investment in post- harvest handling support, processing, storage, transportation and marketing services.

The Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture and Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity private sector Advisor also noted that component three under the project will strengthen facilitation, marketing information services, advocacy and support for agribusinesses.

She said the activity will also focus on several crosscutting issues including gender, Access to Finance, Environment as well as Monitoring and Evaluation.

Under the gender component of the activity LADA will ensure inclusive enterprise development, involving men, women and youth in all project activities. The project encourages women financial participation in agriculture and expects a minimum of 25% of grantees and more than 35% of training participants will be women. Under Access to Finance, LADA will work to reduce commercial interest rates to agriculture borrowers to levels at which investment can result in profits, thereby producing increased employment, rural development, and SME growth.

The activity under its Environment component will ensure that LADA complies with environment requirements of the United States Agency for International Development USAID and the Liberian government.

LADA is to also employ an aggressive data collection and verification process using web -based mobile platforms for tracking the activity’s input, outputs and outcomes.

For their part, two Assistant ministers from the Ministry of Agriculture Patrick T. Worzie, assistant minister for planning and development and Paul Jallah, assistant minister for extension commended the USAID for its continuous support to the agriculture sector of the Country through different institutions.

Ministers Worzie and Jallah described the training as vital to the agriculture sector and challenged the participants to take advantage and ensure knowledge acquired is used to avoid errors in the management system.

They further pledged the government’s commitment to working with LADA in making the program a success. Participants attending the training were drawn from across the Country.

LADA will mobilize private input suppliers, agro -dealers, and aggregators around organized producer groups, increase the use of quality agricultural inputs and technologies, and ultimately increase smallholder farmer income.

Initially, LADA will focus on rice, cassava and the government of Liberia priorities for agricultural development. It will also analyze vegetable, cocoa, coffee, livestock, fish and oil palm value chains to identify investment opportunities and the potential to increase incomes.

According to LADA Communication Specialists Amanda M. Hill, the organization was launched on April 13, 2016 and implementation of the activity is underway.
Ms. Hill told FrontPageAfrica, the project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
She said, several Scientists from the Ministry of Agriculture are also facilitating the training which is expected to end on Thursday June 28, 2016 with Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai in attendance.

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