CASTRAP Participates in the EU Delegation to Liberia Roundtable Discussion on the Agriculture, Energy, and Fishery Sectors


On May 1, 2024, the EU Delegation to Liberia, led by Ambassador Nona Deprez and joined by ambassadors from Germany, France, Sweden, and Ireland, held a one-day roundtable discussion. The meeting was attended by over 50 public and private sector representatives within Maryland County’s agriculture, energy, and fisheries sectors. The objective of the roundtable discussion was to address pressing issues affecting these sectors and brainstorm potential solutions. The discussions centered on sustainable rural financing, cross-border dynamics, and private sector development.

The roundtable discussion took into account the geographical context of the southeastern counties—Maryland, Grand Gedeh, and River Gee—that share borders with Ivory Coast. The conversation explored the implications of these cross-border dynamics, particularly the movement of goods and services and its impact on agriculture, transport, fisheries, and energy. Participants pinpointed bureaucratic inefficiencies at the border and the absence of a bridge over the Cavalla River as significant impediments to cross-border trade.

The disscussion also delved into the challenges in agricultural and rural financing, exploring innovative models such as village savings and loans associations, which have been successful in the southeast. Participants also discussed strategies to better leverage existing donor-funded grants, such as the Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP) and the Strengthening Agriculture and Rural People (STAR-P) initiative. The conversation underscored the necessity for a government-led investment strategy to bolster private sector growth.

Participants expressed appreciation for the EU’s support, particularly in agriculture and energy. They highlighted initiatives like the CASTRAP, which aids over 1,500 value chain actors operating along the cassava value chain, and the ongoing expansion of electricity to Maryland and River Gee, with Sinoe slated as the next recipient. The EU reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with the Government of Liberia, emphasizing that the agriculture, fisheries, and energy sectors are pivotal in poverty reduction efforts. Through its Team Europe Initiative (TEI), the EU outlined plans to extend electricity coverage in the southeast, fortify the seed sector, and further enhance Liberia’s food systems.