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Liberia: African Development Bank Group Aproves U.S.$ 5.12 Million Financing for Emergency Food Production Program

Abidjan — The Board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved financing for the Emergency Food Production Program in Liberia, paving the way for the government to support farmers to increase climate resilient food production and mitigate the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The Board approved a grant of $2.28 million and a loan of $2.84 million from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility, on 22 November 2022.

Agriculture is a major sector in Liberia’s economy, contributing about 26% to GDP. The major crops are rubber, rice, cassava, bananas and palm oil. Cassava and rice are the primary staple food crops. However, overall agricultural productivity is low. The is due to factors such as weak basic infrastructure such as farm equipment, inadequate farm-to-market roads, limited application of fertilizers and pesticides, inadequate food storage capacity, as well as civil conflict during 1989-2003 and the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015. Liberia imports about 80% of its rice, making the country vulnerable to international food price volatility. The country has faced chronic food insecurity and severe nutritional deficits due to a range of challenges including extreme poverty and endemic inefficiencies in the country’s food and agricultural systems. Nearly 50% of Liberia s population is considered food insecure, and childhood malnutrition is persistent – 35% of children under 5 are stunted and 15% of them underweight.

The food production program in Liberia constitutes a sector budget support under the African Development Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility(AEFPF), which aims to increase climate resilient food production for Africa’s farmers in the wake of global shocks such as the war in Ukraine and rising fuel and fertilizer prices.