-As Gov’t Signs MOU For Mechanized Rice Farming
By T. Saye Goinleh
Leading Ghanaian grassroots cost-effective and one-stop comprehensive farming and agricultural business solutions provider, the Abanga and Grace Agro Mechanical Industries (A&G) is expected to invest in a large-scale mechanized cultivation farming of rice in Liberia.
According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Government of Liberia and the private Ghanaian agro company, the multi-million-dollar investment is also intended to achieve self-sufficiency in production for the local market and possible export of rice to other ECOWAS countries.
The MOU was signed by Cllr. Cyrenius Cephus, Deputy Minister of Agriculture for regional development, research and extension on behalf of the Government of Liberia while the president and CEO of Abanga, Thomas Abanga signed on behalf of his company. The MOU is also geared toward ensuring food security, increased domestic rice production as well as creating employment opportunities for farmers in Liberia.
Speaking at the signing ceremony which took place at a local resort in Monrovia recently, Cllr. Cephus lauded the delegation on behalf of the Liberian leader, President George M. Weah for the partnership which he says will bring more relief to farmers in the country.
According to Cllr. Cephus, the A & G agro Mechanical Industry has already assembled its equipment to jump-start the project, noting that under the agreement, the chief executive officer of the company will provide tractors and other equipment to enable the company to start the pilot project so as to provide capacity building for farmers where they will be trained to use most of the apparatus.
Cllr. Cephus further asserted that the rice produced will be mainly for consumption purposes in Liberia but at the same time, surplus will be sold out to other African countries, noting that the intent is not to just produce for Liberia, but also to distribute on the market outside Liberia with the goal of creating job opportunities for many people in rural Liberia.
For his part, the president and CEO of the company, Thomas Abanga commended the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Agriculture for her cooperation and noted that his company’s mission to Liberia is to empower the agricultural communities in an effort to eradicate hunger and poverty by assisting agriculturalists and private farmers in Liberia.
Abanga said his company will also develop long-term economic prosperity and self-sufficiency for Liberian farmers through cost-effective tractors, implements and designed farming-technique training for Liberians.
“Liberia is not different from Ghana, everything A&G is doing, same can be duplicated here in Liberia and Liberians themselves need to start producing their own rice and minimize the consumption of the imported ones.
He told the gathering that the pilot-project stage will also become the basis to attract other investments that people would see and during that exercises, it will be an outburst scheme. Abanga further averred that the key reason for his organization coming in the country is that other institutions earlier arrived in Liberia and promised they wanted to undertake similar project, but for his group this time around as a Pan- African initiative, will want to start up with the project which will last for the next twenty-five years.
Abanga disclosed that the company will collaborate with technical universities and institutions in the country to provide practical training for students with the sole vision for sustainable growth, progressive development and economic self-sufficiency for every citizenry.