Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and is also a key sector for human development and economic growth in Liberia. According to the World Bank (2019), over 75 percent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. The sector contributes 25 – 35 percent to Liberia’s GDP.
With over 4 million acres of arable land, Liberia has potential for commercial agricultural production. The key sub-sectors are food crops; tree crops; horticultural crops; animal husbandry, and fisheries and aquaculture.
Cocoa is Liberia’s third export commodity. It is produced by thousands of smallholder farmers predominately in Nimba, Lofa and Bong counties. In recent years, interest in producing cocoa has been gaining grounds in other counties. Production levels now are a fraction of what Liberia produced in the years back.
This means that there exist great potentials for investments in: rehabilitating old cocoa farms, establishing new plantations, and in value addition.
Liberia exports only cocoa beans. The table below presents cocoa production for the last three years.
Oil Palm Production
The existing CPO refinery does not meet national demands for refined cooking oil. This means that there is need for increasing refinery capacity for CPO to satisfy domestic demand and for export to regional markets.
Increase in palm oil production is largely due to plantations operated by the large concessions coming into production. Some of the key players in this sub-sector are Golden Veroleum, Mano Palm Oil Industries Ltd, Maryland Oil Palm Plantation, and Equatorial Oil Palm.
There are opportunities for investments in the commercialization of all segments of the rice value chain (production, harvesting, aggregation, haulage, processing, storage, distribution, and marketing). Specifically, investments in irrigation facilities and mechanization are needed to improve production and increase rice yields.
Production has steadily increased over the past three years. Increase in rubber production is due to new plantations coming into production by concessions and smallholder farmers alike. Rubber is now being initially processed and exported as Rubber Smoked Sheets (RSS).
Liberia produces and exports only crepe, smoked or concentrated latex. There is no further processing of rubber to produce consumer goods in Liberia. The need for investments in the rubber value chain for producing consumer goods such as latex gloves, rubber bands, rubber slippers, and rubber household utensils, cannot be overemphasized.
Some key players in the rubber sub-sector are Firestone, Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Salala Rubber Corporation, Cocopa Rubber, and Cavalla Rubber Corporation.
Investment opportunities in fruits and vegetables are in the conservation, processing and storage that will ensure their availability out of season, and possibly exportation. Cold storages for fruits and vegetables will meaningfully reduce perishability and enhance their availability.
Cassava is produced throughout the country. It is a food crop with great potential for commercialization for both domestic utilities and export. Cassava is an essential ingredient for a variety of industrial processes and products and is in high demands in foreign markets for sweeteners, animal feeds, starch, noodles, flours, organic acid, and beer. Accordingly, immense investments opportunities exist to improve the entire cassava value chain.