Liberia

Almost half of Liberian territory is rain forest. It is therefore hardly surprising that only 4 % of the Liberia territory is under cultivation.

Before the two civil wars fought in Liberia in the 1990s and early 2000s, agro-industry was the largest employer after the State, and more than half of the workforce was engaged in agriculture.

Today, the shortage and high cost of energy, the lack of roads in some areas, the poor overall condition of the tracks and the lack of skilled labour are all obstacles to the development of projects.

In 2005, Liberia became the first country in Africa to democratically elect a woman as its head of state. Its capital, Monrovia, and most of the country’s economic infrastructure were devastated by the civil wars, and its population is among the poorest in the world. Despite this, an agricultural policy has been defined to ensure all Liberians basic, good-quality food. A strategy of diversification and adaptation to the market has been implemented and has led to an increase in competitiveness.

Today, private companies are playing an important role in injecting fresh vigour into the different agro-industrial and mining sectors, which occupy an important place in Liberia. In addition, in early 2013 the International Chamber of Commerce initiated a study (covering government ministries and economic operators) with a view to improving Liberia’s agricultural sector and the situation of its smallholders.

  • Palm oil

Liberia faces a growing shortage of palm oil, to the point where it is forced to resort to imports of Asian palm oil. This situation has encouraged the country to focus more on developing its oil palm sector. Several major projects have recently been devised in this sector, and will soon be implemented.

Today, palm oil production represents 10.2 % of agricultural output in Liberia and ensures a better standard of living for more than 29 000 families.

  • Rubber

Liberia’s main agribusiness, rubber cultivation, is largely controlled by two operators. Most rubber output comes from the agro-industry, as no plan to support or promote the sector has been initiated in favour of smallholder development. Rubber cultivation accounts for 17.3 % of agricultural output in Liberia and rubber is also its main export crop.

An important driver of development in remote areas, rubber cultivation also enables pure green energy to be produced: natural rubber can replace synthetic rubber (a petroleum distillation product) and represents a significant carbon sink.


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