Liberia is seeking to boost rice production to 600,000 tons a year within three years in a bid to reduce its food import bill, Agriculture Minister Jeanine Cooper says in an interview in the capital, Monrovia.
The government is in talks with lenders to raise $200 million to start a rice cultivation project on 10,000 acres of land in the South-Western region amid other plans in consideration to reach its target.
Liberia seeks to become a net exporter of the commodity in six years, she said.
The West African nation produced an estimated 269,000 tons rice in 2019, 4% higher than the previous year’s output, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Imports account for more than half of the country’s total cereal requirements, with rice accounting for 80% of cereal imports, according to the FAO.
“Our target is within three years we will have up to 60% rice import substitution and with in six years we will be looking at net export,” she said.
“Current level of estimate for local rice production is 330,000 metric tons per year for 2019. We want to see what the 2020 harvest will be. We are hoping to produce 500,000 to 600,000 metric tons a year.”