Liberia - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Sectors
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In 2022, agriculture and fisheries accounted for the second largest share of Liberia’s GDP (29.7 percent) in 2022. Cassava and rice are the primary food staples. Many households engage in cassava, rubber, rice, oil palm, cocoa, or sugarcane production, but most agriculture is small scale, and overall agricultural productivity is low (due in large part to low-technology practices and a lack of quality agricultural inputs). Cassava is mostly grown locally, but Liberia imports more than 80 percent of its rice, making the country vulnerable to global food price volatility. The agricultural sector is poorly integrated and lacks basic infrastructure such as machines, farming equipment and tools, farm-to-market roads, fertilizers and pesticides, and food storage capacity. The main cash crops and foreign exchange earners are rubber, oil palm, cocoa, and timber.

Rubber production declined by 26.5 percent to 64,516 metric tons, from the 87,777 metric tons reported in 2021, due to smaller harvests by small farmers and large producers. Various estimates put the number of people employed by commercial rubber farms at 20,000 and the number of smallholder households involved in growing rubber trees at 35,000. The Firestone Natural Rubber concession, covering almost 200 square miles, is the largest contiguous natural rubber operation in the world and the biggest private sector employer in Liberia.

Palm oil is another significant cash crop. Traditionally it is domestically consumed but there has been some export development with smallholders and large investors expressing interest in expanding cash crop production. CBL’s 2022 annual report showed that the production of crude palm oil (CPO) decreased by 4.1 percent, to 24,019 metric tons, from 25,041 metric tons produced in the preceding year mainly due to a smaller harvest from smallholder farmers. Access to markets is a concern to most smallholder farmers and large concessions alike. Stakeholders in the palm oil sector include smallholder farmer cooperatives, individual farmers, large multinational-owned corporations, and concessionaires such as Golden Veroleum Limited. The Ministry of Agriculture is the government ministry responsible for the governance, management, and promotion of the agriculture sector in Liberia.

Land rights is a critical issue for concessionaires in Liberia. The Land Rights Act clarifies land tenure as well as land governance, administration, and management. Only the comprehensive implementation of the law, however, will resolve uncertainty around land ownership. Concessionaires frequently report conflicting deeds and land use rights associated with government granted concessions. Other obstacles to investment in agriculture include the lack of capital and professional expertise to increase farm productivity, and a government approach to the sector that is inconsistent and politically driven rather than strategic.

Liberia has a favorable climate and fertile soil for cocoa production. There has been substantial investment in the rehabilitation of cooperative and smallholder cocoa farms. The country’s international partners, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), continue to invest in cocoa smallholder producers to improve livelihoods and raise incomes by modernizing cocoa farming, increasing production, and developing market access. Small scale cocoa production will likely increase as farmers continue to reclaim and rehabilitate their farms. As with the agriculture sector in general, smallholder cocoa farmers and local cooperatives suffer inadequate farm-to-market roads, lack of familiarity with measurement and quality standards, lack of storage facilities, and limited access to updated price and market information.

Table 1: Trade with the US
Total Exports607.7881.21058.0
Total Imports998.01337.71527.8
Exports to the US42.970.578.4
Imports from the US67.574.433.2

Units: $ millions
Source: Central Bank of Liberia 2022 Annual Report

Table 2: Key Agriculture & Forestry Sector Output, 2020-2022
Rubber (Metric tons)63,73487,77764,516
Cocoa Beans (Metric tons)5,9165,5114,099
Round Logs (Cubic meter)655,404668,512695,252*
Sawn Timber (Pieces)169,097179,243191,790*
Crude Palm Oil, CPO (Metric tons)22,228625,04124,019

Source: Central Bank of Liberia 2022 Annual Report

+ Revised/Actual

* Estimate

** Projection

Leading Sub-Sectors

Leading sub-sectors for U.S. exports to Liberia include:

· agro-processing such as processing and marketing of agriculture products

· export-based agricultural production

· production and processing of rice and cassava for the domestic market

· farming machinery, equipment, fertilizers, storage, and warehousing facilities

· fish processing, aquaculture, and horticulture

· renewable energy

There is a niche market opportunity for production and marketing of unpolished or “country” rice. Opportunities also exist for vegetable drying and storage that would allow for sales in all seasons. Other opportunities include private financing in the agriculture value chain, such as development financing, microfinance, business development, and crosscutting areas such as agro-inputs, agro-logistics, packaging, storage, and aggregators.


In addition to current cash crops listed above, market opportunities and potential for agribusiness investment and value chain investment are also present for vegetables, fruit, poultry, and fish. Liberia has a suitable climate for horticulture such as the production of peppers, okra, onions, tomatoes, and squash, which are in high demand throughout the country all year. Lowland cultivation and low-cost irrigation would provide opportunities to increase productivity and expand market share of these valuable crops. Liberia has an Atlantic coastline spanning 580 kilometers endowed with abundant fish. The coastline and freshwater bodies are breeding grounds for marine species including crab, lobster, shrimp, tilapia, tuna, shark, croaker, barracuda, grouper, and cassava fish. Liberia lacks a commercial fishing sector, however, with no real domestic fish processing and most fish sold informally in local markets.


· Ministry of Agriculture

· Central Bank of Liberia (CBL)

· International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

· Trade Data Analysis

· Forestry Development Authority (FDA)

· Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC)

· Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC)