The decision of the Liberian government to close the borders in response to the pandemic inadvertently created a shortage. As rice became scarce, prices rose, creating a run on the stock.
While the restrictions did help keep the new COVID-19 case levels relatively low, the food shortage put a burden on many in the country. Because Liberia imports more than 70% of its rice, when the borders closed, many Liberians couldn’t afford to buy it locally.
In response, the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), has partnered with the United Methodist Church, the University of Liberia, AfricaRice, an intergovernmental organization, and the Episcopal Church to create a new sustainable food initiative: Liberian Initiative for Feeding Everyone—or LIFE-Liberia.
LIFE-Liberia’s goal is to reduce dependence on rice imports by focusing on the following objectives in rural Liberia:
- Increasing lowland rice cultivation with a semi-mechanized method that reduces drudge work.
- Collaborating with abandoned idle industrial processors to improve investment in and boost processing and marketing of Liberian rice. These processors remove the husks from the rice grains—readying them for consumption—and are able to do it faster and in larger quantities than removing husks by hand.
- Engaging the Liberian government, development partners and private-sector actors as businesses, churches and mosques to concert efforts in increasing rice production.
With God’s help, LIFE-Liberia hopes to turn the nightmare of food scarcity in Liberia into an oasis that embodies the kingdom of God.
Source: Living Lutheran