Impressively, a local cassava chips producer in the town of Melekie, Bong County, Ma Musu Barto, now has a large quantity of cassava chips already packaged in 50kg-size bags for export to China after processing them manually.
She runs the War Affected Multipurpose Cooperative in that town which had primarily engaged in rice processing, but has now diversified to cassava chip processing using ordinary kitchen knives to flake off raw cassava into chips.
Ma Barto lacks the means to acquire cassava processing machines to enhance her capacity to produce more chips and uses knives instead.
Minister Cooper, along with Deputy Minister for Extension, George Forboh and Deputy Minister for Planning, Robert Fagans, toured Ma Barto’s facility in Melekie and was impressed by works being done.
“This is the kind of resilience we are seeking and it gives us the encouragement to support these agribusinesses that are doing everything possible to have Liberian products on the international markets”, Minister Cooper said.
Agriculture Minister Cooper inspects Ma Musu Barto’s cassava chips that have been bagged for export
The purchase of mini cassava processors to be given to processors around Liberia, like Ma Musu, is part of the Government of Liberia’s COVID-19 Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihood Plan which is partly funded by the World Bank.
The procurement processes to acquire these processing machines for distribution to Liberian farmers are well in advance.
According to an online research, “China in 2018 imported US$ 895 million worth of cassava chips from various parts of the world.
Cassava chips are often used as a carbohydrate base in the animal feed industry particularly in Europe, or milled into flour for other uses such as in the production of ethanol, cakes, doughnut and biscuits”.