LNBCC Agriculture Roundtable
June 29th, 2018- Monrovia
On Friday the 29th of June the LNBCC hosted a Roundtable Discussion on the agricultural sector in Liberia. The session took place at the Cape Hotel in Mamba Point. The event was intended as a followup to the Sector Scan which was produced by the LNBCC at the end of 2017, outlining the limitations and opportunities within the sector. By gathering stakeholders and reflecting on the findings, deeper insights were gained into what is needed for a company to successfully enter the agricultural sector.
The participants included representatives of Green Gold Liberia, Stanford Peabody (agricultural consultant to USAID and other projects), Natty B. Davis, the Managing Director of Organic Matters, and several other stakeholders working in procurement and logistics. Their inputs shed new light on the LNBCC’s findings are will we developed into an extra chapter to be added to the sector scan.
One of the key topics discussed was the need to develop a bankable, investment-ready package which can be presented to persons who may have an interest in investing in agriculture. The NIC should have the capability to do this but are currently lacking the financial means.
Another suggestion was the development of a spot market. A commodities market where fruits, vegetables and cash crops are sold for transparent prices. When persons go to sell their produce there they will know the amount of money they can make. This would greatly boost profits in agriculture by making it them calculable and predictable.
All participants agreed that the lack of packaging options is greatly inhibiting the growth of the sector, as export markets remain hard to reach. The option to add value to produce locally is also inhibited by this constraint.
Large companies who come to Liberia are often focussed on the export market and do not actually bring money into the country. This inhibits growth in the sector. It would be great if medium-sized and smaller cap companies would enter the market. Participants noted that those companies often do not have the financial means to risk experimenting in a completely new – and often foreign to them – economy. The fact that Dutch companies could make use of financial instruments through the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) was seen as a comprehensive package to support those companies coming to Liberia.
These, and other findings will be elaborated on further in the new version of the Agriculture Sector Scan and made available in the coming months. We would like to thank all who attended our event.