Liberia - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Sectors
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Agriculture, including forestry, is the primary livelihood for more than 60 percent of Liberia’s population and accounted for 31 percent of Liberia’s 2021 real gross domestic product (GDP). It provides income for many households engaging in cassava, rubber, rice, oil palm, cocoa, or sugarcane production. Cassava and rice are the primary staple food crops. More households engage in cassava production than any other food crop. However, 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). As a result, Liberia imports more than 80 percent of its staple food, rice, making the country vulnerable to global food price volatility. Poorly integrated, the agricultural sector 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 is a dominant revenue generator, accounting for 12.5 percent of total export receipts in 2021.  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. The CBL’s 2021 report showed a 12.4 percent increase in palm oil production (from a revised 22,286 metric tons to 25,041 metric tons) due to greater labor mobility from the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. 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: Total Market Size for Agricultural Sectors

(In Millions USD)





Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from U.S.





Exports to U. S.





Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports
Units: $ millions
Source: ITA Trade Policy Information System (TPIS), Central Bank of Liberia Annual Report 2021.

Table 1: Key Agriculture & Forestry Sector Output, 2019-2021

Table 1: Key Agriculture & Forestry Sector Output, 2019-2021






Rubber (Metric tons)




Cocoa Beans (Metric tons)




Round Logs (Cubic meter)





Sawn Timber (Pieces)





Crude Palm Oil, CPO (Metric tons)




Source: Central Bank of Liberia Annual Report 2021

+ Revised/Actual

* 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 Policy Information System (TPIS)

Forestry Development Authority (FDA)

Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC)

Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC)