The European Investment Bank is planning to support large-scale investment to increase rice production and enhance food security in Liberia
The EIB’s first support for agricultural investment in Liberia is expected to cover the entire value chain including rice production, storage and distribution.
Agreements to prepare detailed feasibility studies to identify current challenges and assess investment priorities were signed in Monrovia by agriculture minister Jeanine M Cooper, deputy minister for Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Tanneh G Brunson, European Union ambassador Laurent Delahousse and Diederick Zambon, responsible for public sector financing in sub-Saharan Africa at the EIB.
“Liberia is highly vulnerable to global food shocks, with more than two-thirds of rice consumed in our country being imported from abroad. Liberia’s partnership with the European Investment Bank and the European Union will boost local rice production, create private sector jobs across our country and reduce agricultural dependency of other countries. The close cooperation between Liberia and Europe is strengthening food security and reducing the impact of the war in Ukraine and recent global economic shocks on Liberia.” Cooper said.
“Rice is Liberia’s staple food, but we don’t produce it. The new rice investment programme backed by the European Investment Bank and the European Union ensures that Liberia can accelerate sustainable development and avoid food price shocks by increasing local rice production,” added Brunson.
“Over the coming months detailed feasibility studies will identify priority investment that can transform rice production in Liberia and enable large scale financing across the sector,” said Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of European Investment Bank.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is having consequences on food and commodity prices all over the world, including here in Liberia. The European Union recognise the importance of supporting local rice production to reduce Liberia’s dependency on rice imports and increase local rice production,” said Laurent Delahousse, European Union ambassador to Liberia.
Identifying investment priorities
The US$4.29mn agreement between the Liberian government and European Investment Bank (EIB) will prepare detailed feasibility studies to assess the potential and challenges of the rice value chain in Liberia and support project implementation.
The EIB and Liberian partners can then design and structure an investment programme that is expected to be launched next year. The feasibility studies are being financed by a grant from the European Development Fund under the Africa Investment Platform.
Reducing dependency on imported rice and global price shocks
The new EIB-backed rice-value chain development program intends to boost rice production in the country by reducing Liberia’s dependency on rice imports to improve food and nutrition security and create local jobs in rice production, storage and distribution.
The overall investment programme is expected to support the entire rice value chain improving rice production, building irrigation, upgrading food laboratories, enhancing warehousing and logistics.