MINISTRY OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The agriculture sector remains and continues to be the largest source of employment in the Liberian economy. It generates employment for more than seventy-five percent (75%) of the Liberian population and contributes more than fifty percent (50%) to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Agriculture has been an important source of income generation, especially for our rural population. About seventy-five percent (75%) of the rural dwellers in the Country are involved in agricultural activities as a means of survival or earning their livelihood. Therefore, the development and improvement of this sector will yield substantial dividends for our rural population.
Unfortunately, there remain some challenges that continue to inhibit the growth of this sector, one of which is the lack of agro-processing facilities. The resultant effects of the poor access to or lack of processing facilities are those of wastage and spoilage of agricultural produce which weaken farmers to undertake large scale production. Cassava, for example, is the second staple food in the Country and is widely cultivated. Amazingly, the product is counted amongst some of the leading agricultural produce that suffers spoilage and is also under-consumed as far as the various uses to which it can be transformed are concerned.
It is against this background that the Ministry of Commerce and industry under the dynamic leadership of Hon. Miata Beysolow has envisioned a large scale development of the agro-sector, especially cassava, which from practical experience can be processed into other related products such as flour-like food staple called farina or gari, starch, chips, bread, etc. The Ministry is also of the conviction that initiating a project on cassava with value-addition is necessary at this point in time as it will help to promote agro-industries in the Country, which in turn, will enhance economic activities in a way, and to some extent, achieve the goals and objectives of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) initiated by the Government of Liberia.
In consideration thereof, in 2010, authorities of the Ministry prioritized assessment involving the collection of accurate information or data which in the medium and long term would lead to the implementation of a project for improved method in the agro-industrial sector, especially the value- addition to cassava. Upon completion of this exercise by a three-man team comprising Senior and Junior Staff of the Bureau of industry in two Counties, namely Grand Cape Mount and Rivercess, an evidence of feasibility for the production and processing of cassava in these areas was found. As a result of this, the Ministry has procured four (4) cassava processing machines and has almost completed the construction of two buildings in the above mentioned Counties to host said machines. It is worthy to note that this initiative undertaken by the Ministry has been widely hailed and welcomed by local authorities, as well as, local residents in these Counties.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, through the Bureau of industry, further intends to develop the sugarcane and kernel sectors by introducing new method(s) for the processing of ethanol and kernel oil.
Beneficiaries of this project include farmers engaged in the production of cassava, consumers of cassava and its related products, as well as, the local residents.
Grand Cape Mount County : Danielís Towm
Rivercess County : Darsaw Town, Zarflahn District