Liberia is exploring innovative ways to accelerate rice farming and meet market demands as big producers in industrialized nations like India are restricting exports amidst high levies.
Agriculture Minister Jeanine Cooper said the National Rice Stabilization Task Force, which President George Weah Commissioned aims steady supply of rice in the local markets.
For decades, its availability, price, and quality have shaped our nation’s narrative. From the unrest sparked by proposed rice tariffs in 1979 to the present challenges of COVID-19, climate impacts, conflict, and commodity price fluctuations, our reliance on imported rice has persisted.
However, the events of 2022 have underscored a stark reality: this dependence is not sustainable.
As we grapple with the aftermath of Ebola and face the new 4Cs challenges, we must reimagine our approach to rice production.
It’s time to shift the paradigm by focusing on three key pillars: bolstering smallholder production, scaling up agribusiness micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and attracting commercial agrifood ventures.
In Liberia, we hold one truth to be self-evident: If one has not eaten rice on any given day, then one has not eaten.
Well, at least that is the conventional theory that has driven food policy and planning for the last 60 years.
Rice is Liberia’s staple food, and our contemporary history has been completely shaped by rice: Its availability on the local market, price, and, to a lesser extent, quality.
The Movement for Community Led Development in Liberia (MCLD-Liberia) is helping farmers address challenges with home-grown solutions. Through these efforts, they are working to empower women and youth and to ensure that communities drive international development in their country.