The Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) is being implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) and is supported and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the United States Feed the Future (FTF) Program. The LADA activity takes place in four counties Bong, Nimba, Lofa & Upper Montserrado and focuses on three components, namely:
C1: Increase private sector investment in agriculture inputs
C2: Increase private sector investment in post-harvest handling support, packaging, marketing, storage and auxiliary services,
C3: Strengthened facilitation, market information, advocacy and support
LADA works to catalyze increase private sector investment and commercial finance to agribusiness sector and expand commercially sustainable linkages between consumers, producers and post-harvest enterprises. LADA is designed to provide broad support to agricultural development and food security initiatives at the community and national levels in Liberia. It supports forging innovative partnerships with the private sector to leverage new resources and maximize impact in support of its development efforts. The activity supports USAID/Liberia IR 2.1: Food Security Enhanced, including Sub IR 2.1.2: Agricultural Sector Growth Supported, Sub IR 2.2: Selected Value Chains Strengthened and IR 2.3: Enabling Environment Supports Private Sector Growth.
Establishment of the Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN)
To increase the sustainability of its outcomes, CNFA is working with various partners in Liberia who activities align with LADA objectives. One of these partners is Business Startup Center (BSC) Monrovia, a key CNFA implementing partner and a company with the requisite skills, knowledge, and expertise to contribute to achieving the overarching objectives. To facilitate LADA goals, CNFA has supported and finance the establishment of the Agribusiness Investment Network (AIN), a local entity fostering an innovative capacity-building network designed to bring together stakeholders and decision makers, to support producers, processors and buyers so as to increase agricultural investment and ensure sustainability of agriculture activities in Liberia. As per CNFA initial proposal to USAID, the AIN, managed by BSC Monrovia, will unite all actors along the value chain specifically rice, cassava, vegetables, aquaculture and cocoa, from production to consumption of agricultural produce to augment investment in the sector and increase income for aggregators and agrodealers.
The AIN has been fully registered and incorporated by the Liberia Business Registry and drafted the By-Laws and Constitution that would govern the entity. Also, it has identified an experienced and hardworking Board of Directors that will supervise the daily activities of the Entity. The AIN will be housed within the BSC Monrovia at the University of Liberia as the implementation facility.
Activities/Goals of the AIN
During the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) Conference, the AIN was launched and promoted her services to be offered to potential agribusinesses based on several assessments completed for an organization that would advocate on their behalf. The AIN mission will coordinate and strengthen agriculture markets and increase investment in agri-business through policy, capacity building, training and business networking. The AIN will work with public and private stakeholders in the agricultural sector to create a powerful medium for the advancement of business enabling environment reform:
- Serve as a network platform for information sharing, discussion and business linkages among stakeholders and enable private sector actors to work with civil society and conducting policy studies and advocating for private sector friendly reforms in each of the priority value chains.
- Offer workshops, training, sessions, events and seminars on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant government entities that will further improve the public and private dialogue and facilitate analysis and dissemination of policy studies findings.
- To provide inputs and facilitate changes in the legal and regulatory frameworks affecting the target value chains.
The BSC Monrovia/AIN will develop opportunities to share ideas and seek input from other agricultural and related public and private organization and provide the following services:
- Facilitation of investment into the agricultural sector by domestic and foreign investors
- Critical feedback on business concepts/cases
- Secure and explore financing options for business growth
- Access to new market opportunities for agro-dealers
- Access to a network of agribusiness industry players
- Provide a directory of governmental and regulatory agencies to be used by AIN members
- Needs based coaching and mentoring for potential investee agro-companies
- Provide relevant market linkages and information to public and private agricultural institution.