US$24.9 million IFAD loan to Liberia to revitalize cocoa and coffee production sectors

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Rome, 10 January 2012 –The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$24.9 million loan to the Republic of Liberia to improve food security and reduce post conflict poverty in rural communities.

The loan agreement for the Smallholder Tree Crop Revitalisation Support Project was signed today by Mohamed Sheriff, Ambassador of the Republic of Liberia and Kevin Cleaver, Associate Vice President, Programmes at IFAD.

Development of the agriculture sector is a top national priority of the Liberian government. Although agriculture is the largest employer in the country, it is facing major challenges. This new project will aim to increase the incomes of cocoa and coffee producers by raising the quantity of produce sold. The project will revitalize 50 per cent of existing plantations and restore 315 kilometres of rural road networks to improve access to market centres for more than 280,000 people. In addition, the project will strengthen both the private sector and extension services to smallholder farmer cooperatives by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The project will reach out to the most vulnerable rural farming households in Lofa County, where the highest number of smallholder cocoa and coffee producers live; most of Liberia’s poor people live in this area. More than 15,000 smallholder cocoa and coffee farmers, of which half are women, will benefit directly from the project.

With this new project, IFAD will have financed 5 programmes and projects in Liberia for a total investment of $38.3 million benefitting 30,000 households.

Press release No.: IFAD/01/2012

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested about US$13.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering about 405 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome – the United Nation’s food and agricultural hub. It is a unique partnership of 167 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).