The rice farmers in the Lofa county are willing to produce more on the promising lowlands.
The rice farmers in the Lofa county are willing to produce more on the promising lowlands.
Photo: SDC

26.07.2016

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Liberia is a resource-rich country. However, it is food insecure and produces only half of its annual rice demand. A recent evaluation shows that Liberia could produce more rice than needed provided that lowland rice production can be rehabilitated.

Liberia is a resource-rich country. Its 4.1 million people cover a living space of 111,370 square kilometres (36 persons/km2). Around 70 per cent of the population live from agriculture and forestry. Agriculture is by far the biggest contributor to labour and to the GDP. The chief staple food of the Liberian population is rice and cassava, with rice mainly produced on rain-fed upland schemes with very low yields of an average 1,000-1,200 kilogrammes per hectare. National rice production only covers half of the demand. The remaining 50 per cent is imported at annual costs of 150 to 200 million USD.

However, Liberia has all the ingredients to become self-sufficient in rice: sufficient irrigable land, adequate knowhow and farmers who are willing to produce more.

In 2012, the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and Civil Society, implemented a pilot project to rehabilitate and develop irrigated lowland rice farming and related activities mainly in Lofa County in the north of Liberia.

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