Monrovia, November 14, 2012 - The Liberian Government, World Bank and development partners today launched the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) intended to make agriculture more productive and sustainable, and to support regional integration.
The objective of the Liberia WAAPP is to improve the productivity of rice and cassava along their value chain in order to enhance Liberia’s food self-sufficiency and regional competiveness. This is to be achieved within the framework of the Agricultural Sector Development Policy, the Liberia National Rice and Cassava Development strategies. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to higher economic growth and poverty reduction through sustained agricultural productivity increases in participating countries, focusing on their top priority commodity sub-sectors that are aligned with regional priorities. WAAPP will provide a sub-regional framework on which countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will collaborate to implement national and regional agricultural strategies in technology generation and dissemination in country-specific priority commodity sub-sectors.
Launching the WAAPP in the Monrovia suburb of Paynesville, Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai said: “for scores of years now, successive governments have searched for a program that will serve as a catalyst to meeting self-reliance in food production.” Expressing optimism of the project, Vice President Boakai added: “the WAAPP scheme will yield the desired outcome and that our effort at achieving self-sufficiency in what we eat will be greatly helped.” He thanked the World Bank, the Government of Japan and ECOWAS for partnering with West African countries in formulating such a relevant program.
For Liberia, the WAAPP will be implemented in eight (8) counties: Margibi, Bong, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, Rivergee, Maryland and Sinoe counties. The target is to have, at least, 40% of project beneficiaries being women. The WAAPP is a ten-year Program (of 2 five-year phases). The program is already operational and involves Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. WAAPP-1C, the series to which Liberia belongs, was approved by the Board of the World Bank in March 2011, and also includes Benin, Niger, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo.
“In Liberia the WAAPP will focus on rice and cassava value chains which are considered priority commodities in terms of ensuring National Food Security, improving farmers’ livelihood and key driver of economic growth for Liberia,” Ms. Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia said. Ms. Dobraja thanked everyone, “especially the Japanese Government for providing the US$8m grant under the Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD) Grant Facility” for their contribution in getting the project to the current stage. She added: “a lot of support from the Government and partners is crucial to be able to achieve the desired impact of the WAAPP.”
The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank is lending $6m out of the overall $14m project cost. The project will be jointly co-financed by the Japanese Trust Fund in the amount of US$8m, while the Government of Liberia is contributing US$600,000.
“I am pleased that the specific country commodities identified under the WAAPP are rice and cassava; these commodities are expected to make the greatest contribution to the region’s agricultural growth and ensure that producers benefit from research and development,” according to Deputy Agriculture Minister for Technical Services Zizi Subah. “Liberia must achieve food security and the WAAPP will contribute to this,” he emphasized.
The WAAPP is a regional project designed to support the implementation of the Agricultural Policy of West African States. It is an instrument of the World Bank’s Regional Integration Assistance Strategy (RIAS) for West Africa and the Bank’s Regional Action Plan for Sub-Saharan Africa.
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About the International Development Association:
The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. Established in 1960, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing interest-free credits and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. It is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in the poorest countries. IDA lends money (known as credits) on concessional terms. IDA credits have zero or very low interest charges, and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5 to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.