Liberia Agriculture Transformation Agenda (LATA)

Liberia agricultural transformation agenda for economic diversification and inclusive growth through agriculture, agro- processing and manufacturing is a holistic approach to transforming Liberia’s value chain products from raw materials to finished products. To achieve this, we have implemented the LATA agenda.

GOAL: Economic Diversification and Inclusive Growth

ONE PROGRAM: Develop value chains for agricultural goods, from production to processing and manufacturing, by promoting self-sustaining market systems and adopting export-driven industrial policy for the 21st Century.

VALUE CHAINS: Cocoa, Oil Palm, Rubber, Fisheries, (Marine / Aquaculture), Rice, Cassava and Horticulture.
OBJECTIVE TO 2017: Agro-procesing irreversibly anchored in Liberia’s long-term economic landscape through increased

investments of the private sector at critical stages of the value chain process.

Four Guiding Principles of LATA

  • Develop selected value chains through private sector investment and markets

  • Promote innovative financing solutions

  • Adopt an export-driven industrial policy, including production of downstream products

  • Promote enabling business environment

Liberia’s portfolio of investment choices includes profitable opportunities in the following eight value chain agriculture sectors:

RUBBER: Sector financing available; 5 RSS Clusters operational; 25.000 MT of RSS rubber produced, new market opened. RUBBER WOOD TIMBER: Rubber Wood Timber is widely used for themanufacturing of high-end-furnuture ( bedroom, living

room, dining room ) of furniture parts (legs, arms, frames, etc)

COCOA: LACRA Act Passed; Cocoa regulations adopted; warehouse rehabilitation and warehouse receipt system in place; independent certifier operating; foreign value chain investor; access to inputs and extension services to smallholder farmers.

OIL PALM: Out grower scheme pilot implemented for concession holders; processing mills operational; exports of oil palm; non-concessionary production and marketing increased

RICE: Increased yields and access to market; cost of production reduced; private sector investment; export markets; feasibility study for commodity trading platform.

MARINE FISH: Robertsport and Monrovia fishing facilities operational and privately managed; reform of tax and regulatory framework; industrial investor in aquaculture.

CASSAVA: High quality cassava flour used in bread; starch production.

AQUACULTURE: Processing mills to produce pelleted fish food, chicken feed , Rice bran, termites, cassava leaf and algal blooms.

- Cocoa

Cocoa production in Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria is saturated, with limited scope for expansion and many competitors. This makes Liberia the next growth market for the production of cocoa.

Liberia’s cocoa sector is unstructured with some 90% of cocoa being bought by informal traders and exported at fair average quality. In addition, due to limited investment, Liberian cocoa yields around 200 kg per hectare, about 30% of that obtained in neighboring countries and 20% of its potential.

With a climate perfect for growing cocoa, abundant rainfall and land, and a new highway linking the cocoa belt (which runs from Grand Gedeh through Nimba, Lofa and Bong counties all the way to Grand Cape Mount) to the port of Monrovia, Liberia provides excellent opportunities for growth, giving investors in cocoa input provision, production, aggregation and exporting scope to make significant profits.

Working With Farmers

There are 30,000 smallholder farmers growing cocoa. Most are located in Lofa, Nimba and Bong. There are 36 cocoa cooperatives registered with the Cooperatives Development Authority. NIC and CDA are on hand to provide further information and to guide you to the best-run ones, such as Kwakersieh and Kwalowakiah in Nimba.

There are a number of development partner programs that are providing extension support and building farmer and cooperative capacity through numerous farmer field schools. The main programs are LIFE III (USAID via ACDI/VOCA), Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalization Project in Nimba (World Bank via Canadian Cooperative experts SOCODEVI) and the IFAD-funded Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalization Project in Lofa.

- Oil Palm

Oil palm is native to Liberia and grows abundantly across the country. Half of Liberia’s oil palm is produced by 30,000 small farmers, . The other half is produced in some 70,000 hectares of oil palm plantations that began in the 1970s. In 2013 Liberia produced 176,000 tons of palm fruit and 49,000 tons of crude palm oil. In addition, Liberia has secured the

investment of four large international firms which were concessioned to develop an additional 870,000 hectares of oil palm. This makes Liberia the perfect place to invest in the processing of crude palm oil into refined oil for cooking, soaps and cosmetics, food processing, mulch, fertilizer, animal feed and bio-fuel. As a member of ECOWAS, Liberia provides the optimal location to supply oil palm products to West African countries, where demand is burgeoning — in addition to Liberia, countries like Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso all register a shortage of oil palm products.

There is a large market opportunity

Liberia’s oil palm market was at least $91.5 million in 2014 and has an average annual growth of 5.9% per year in real terms since 2004. Liberia ranks second in the consumption of crude palm oil and crude kernel oil per person per year in the region, consuming 11 kg per person per year. Only Cote d’Ivoire has a higher rate, while consumption levels per person are lower in Nigeria and Ghana.

The ECOWAS market provides a large and growing market for oil palm products. ECOWAS consumed 2.4 million tons of crude oil palm in 2014 and an additional 1 million tons of refined oil palm. The ECOWAS market for cooking oils and fats is

expanding rapidly. Imports increased from $351.4m in 2004 to a record $1.4 billion in 2014, equating to a growth rate of 15% per year.

The market for soap products is also large and growing. ECOWAS imported $544 million worth of soaps in 2014, while Liberia accounted for $8.3 million and registered an average annual growth rate of 12.4% over the past 10 years.

It Is Competitive To Grow And Process Oil Palm In Liberia

The price of crude oil palm is $700 per ton. Refined oil palm is worth $1,100 per ton, and it costs $250/ton to refine oil palm in Liberia. When refined, one obtains two products with high market value: Olean and stearin. The retail price of packaged oil palm cooking oil is $1,600 per ton. The minimum wage for skilled labor is only US$7/day, while for unskilled labor its US$4/day. By comparison the cost of unskilled labor in Ghana is US$7/day. The Liberian climate provides the hot and tropical conditions under which the palm tree flourishes

Where To Grow And Source Your Oil Palm For Value Addition And Processing

Golden Veroleum has a concession for 350,000 hectares in Sinoe, Grand Kru and River Gee, while Sime Darby has a concession for 220,000 hectares in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount. Equatorial Oil Palm has a concession of 169,000 hectares in Grand Bassa and Maryland Oil Palm has 9,000 Hectares in Maryland. GVL and Sime Darby have both planted 10,000 hectares each as of mid-2015 and are developing their first mills. These plantations are growing the Tenera variety.

The concessions are obligated to develop 125,000 hectares of out grower and community oil palm. Natural oil palm (dura) grows abundantly across the country, while there are many smallholder plantations along the rubber belt (the highway from Monrovia to Ganta) and in Lofa, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Grand Bassa. High quality hybrid seedlings are available in smallholder areas, mainly through nurseries established by the ACDI/VOCA SHOPS project (JBariyanga@ acdivoca.onmicrosoft.com). Many seedlings are sourced from the main research station in Cote d’Ivoire or from Ghana.

Liberia is completing the paving of the country’s main highway from Liberia to Ganta on the Guinean border, thus linking many oil palm growing areas to Monrovia, the sea ports and to Guinea, Senegal and Mali. Travel time from Ganta to Monrovia is 3 hours.

- Marine Fish

Liberia’s coastline and continental shelf offers 20,000 sq km of fishing ground. Only around 8,000 tons of marine fish is currently produced per year. Yet Liberia consumes 23,800 tons, meaning there is a large potential to increase production. The Government is investing in fish landing, storage and processing infrastructure and is streamlining investment regulations in the sector. With the impending completion of large energy infrastructure projects, it will be soon cheaper to process fish in Liberia than in Nigeria, Senegal or Cote D’Ivoire. In addition, with the completion of major road projects, such as the road from Monrovia to Nimba on the Guinean border, there is the potential to supply fish to the water-scarce areas of West Africa, such as eastern Guinea.

- Aquaculture

Liberia has an abundance of renewable water sources providing yearlong water availability. It boasts 200 billion cubic meters of renewable internal water resources, compared to 77 billion in Côte d’Ivoire, 60 billion in Mali, 45 billion in South Africa, 30 billion in Ghana and just 21 billion in Kenya. Also, Liberia boasts an optimal water temperature for aquaculture (27 degrees). Liberia has the potential to produce at least 330,000 tons of inland fish; significantly more than the current production — which is all done at the smallholder level of just 2,500 tons.The domestic market is unsaturated, particularly up-country where fish consumption per person is low due to limited access and the high cost of imported fi sh. As a result of limited availability, the average Liberian only consumes 5 kg per year compared to an ECOWAS average of 10kg per year, 30 kg per year in Sierra Leone and 20kg per year in Ghana. With investment in local production and distribution, consumption per person can easily quadruple. This provides a large, untapped business opportunity — particularly as there is currently no competition. It is a new, untapped market. There is great potential to also supply regions with limited access to the coast or with rapid population growth. Guinea, Mali and Nigeria all register consumption levels below the ECOWAS average, giving scope for export growth to these neighboring markets.

- Cassava

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), cassava is the third most important source of calories in the tropics, after rice and corn. In Liberia, Cassava is the second most important food crop. It is grown throughout the country, although the area covered may vary considerably for different counties.

Liberia provides a strong basis for investors in cassava value addition such as gari, cassava flour, high quality cassava starches and adhesives. Under its Liberia Agricultural Transformation Agenda (LATA), Liberia has identified agro processing zone across the country to promote easy access of the farm product to market along the valued chain, linking to national highway that links the primary cassava growing areas to local, regional and global markets. The intrinsic characteristics of cassava that make it interesting as a commodity and as a major economic driver can be expressed as follows: it has greater clarity and viscosity than other comparable starches; it remains very stable in acidic food products and; it has excellent properties for use in animal feed, non-food products, such as pharmaceuticals and others.

In addition to contributing to food security, the promotion of Liberia’s cassava sector can lead to a significant boost in the following areas: agro-food industry (cassava fl our, chips, etc), non-food industry (glue, starch, etc.), poultry & livestock industries (chicken feed, pig feed, etc). It can also contribute significantly to the empowerment of women and youth, who make up the majority of small holder producers and carry out over 80 percent of trading activities in the rural areas.

- Horticulture

Liberia is the optimal country for horticulture production. Among the leading fruit and vegetable producing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Liberia has the largest renewable water assets. It boasts 200 billion cubic meters of renewable internal water resources, compared to 77 billion in Côte d’Ivoire, 45 billion in South Africa, 30 billion in Ghana and just 21 billion in Kenya. Its rainfall is 2,391 millimeters per year, compared to 1,348 in Ghana, 1,187 in Côte d’Ivoire and 730 in Kenya. It has a large and growing domestic market, access to a large ECOWAS market and sea access to European and American markets. With huge investments in road and energy infrastructure, a large renewable water source, and cheap labor and fuel costs, it is the ideal country to invest in horticulture production and processing. Liberia provides a great market opportunity for investors in horticulture production: the provision inputs such as seed and fertilizer, aggregation of produce, cold chain infrastructure and warehousing, and value chain addition such as packaging.

There Is A Large Market Opportunity

The Liberia market for horticulture in 2013 was worth $103.6 million, of which $90.4 million was produced locally. In 2013 Liberia produced 291,000 tons worth of fruit and vegetables, and imported 14,300 tons.

There are 20 concessions operating in Liberia, with a potential to create 100,000 jobs and demand high quality produce. These provide big market opportunities. Liberia has preferential access to several lucrative markets, including EU (EBA) and the USA (AGOA). It boasts proximity to these markets compared to leading exporters like Kenya and South Africa

- Communication Information System:

a. ICT, optical fiber will provide convenient, efficient high-speed net. b. Mobile phone penetration rate %78, internet, 0.5%, fixed %0.3.

- Health

The national health system is based on three main levels of care — primary, secondary and tertiary — with each level acting as a gate-keeper for the next level. The Tertiary Level is represented by the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Medical Center (JFK- MC), which serves as the only referral hospital for complicated emergencies, surgical and specialized services. It comprises a paramedical and nursing school; a large laboratory for various tests and diagnosis, X-ray, Dental, Optometry, and Emergency and Surgical units.

The JFK-MC was severely damaged during the country’s 14 years Civil War and is being rehabilitated to enable it to serve as a tertiary referral facility for the whole country. The health care system is managed by 727 public, private and faith-based health facilities throughout the country at all levels (clinics, health centers and hospitals). There are 7,213 health care

workers on government payroll (excluding Presidential Appointees).
The health sector faces huge, competing challenges that continue to impede and ruin progress made in recent years.

However, these challenges can be perceived as investment opportunities for public private partnership (PPP) with the government of Liberia.

Investment Opportunities are,

Expanding Access To Basic Health Care Of Acceptable Quality

Well-equipped laboratories for MRI, CT scan, Diagnostic Imaging and scanning; advance testing (DNA, drug, mammogram, prostate, etc.)

Mobile labs and clinics for rural areas

Establishing An Effective, Responsive And Sustainable Health Care Delivery System

Health Information System – transforming the health care system is dependent on how well we manage our Information and data, and making sure the data is reliable and easily accessible to all interested parties, so they are able to make informed decisions.

An Effective Supply Chain Management

Transportation – Delivery trucks and air transport of medical supplies and patients, especially during the raining Season (April to November)

Delivery tracking system to enhance the tracking of medical supplies Warehousing facility for sale of medical supplies and equipment