According to recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) domestic rice consumption in the region increased from 11 million tons of white rice in 2008/2009 to 18 million tons to 2016/2017.
Mohammed Kamara, President of the National Rice Federation of Liberia (NRFL) has presented the regional consultation framework of rice producers’ summary report to the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) for review and consideration. The document was drafted at the West African Regional rice conference recently held in Benin which aimed at enhancing sustainable rice production in order to reduce rice importation in the sub region. West Africans eat varieties of food including tubers (cassava, yam, eddoes, potato), and rice, and studies have shown that many in the sub-region, if not all, dwell on rice as the main staple than the rest of the other food crops. According to recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) domestic rice consumption in the region increased from 11 million tons of white rice in 2008/2009 to 18 million tons to 2016/2017. The report among other things, stressed the need for leaders in the sub region to allocate sufficient budgetary resources at least 20 percent of the national budget for agriculture toward the rice sector for innovative practices that can enhance sustainable rice production, empower various national rice platforms to ensure their sustainability and as well as encourage exchange visits for the benefit of countries to share experiences on sustainable rice production system and set up collaboration with research field schools to test sustainable rice production. Presenting the report, Kamara stated that the rice federation of Liberia has formulated a 5-year plan intended to increase the production of rice in Liberia. He said the plan seeks to support local farmers to produce more rice and will require the government’s support. According to him, the rice sector still faces many challenges which, he said, will need the government to make more investment to mitigate the constraints. Receiving the report, Precious Tetee, acting Agriculture Minister, thanked Kamara for ably representing the country. She said the MOA remains committed to providing support to rice producers to make the country reduce importation. Liberia’s equatorial climate is characterized by heavy rainfall and an ideal sunshine every year. The country hosts about 41% of the Upper Guinea Tropical Rainforest with fertile soil; however, agriculture remains rather rudimentary in the country that imports rice from India, China and the United States every year to feed its population of 4.8 million.