“ADA/LAP is here to stay,” ADA Managing Director Assures

Wednesday, 14th April 2010

Monrovia, Liberia – The Managing Director of the ADA/LAP Company, Mr. Elvis G. Morris has assured that ADA/LAP will not pull out of Foya District, despite the enormous challenges confronting it, and in the face of the controversy that characterized its operations before he took over as managing director.

“ADA/LAP is here for a long time. Our goal is to be the largest rice producing company in Liberia. We have brought in all the equipment, including a US$10 million rice mill, and are trying to enlarge the concession area.’” Mr. Morris told a town hall meeting convened by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in Foya, Lofa County at the weekend.

Mr. Morris said one of the objectives of the company is to improve the lives of residents of Foya District by providing them employment opportunities.

He indicated that issues that constituted hurdles in the implementation of the project were being addressed. He cited the issue of land ownership, which he said was a major hindrance to the cultivation of rice last season.

He disclosed that the company has called in the Lands, Mines and Energy Ministry to map out the area to demarcate public land from individual land, to avoid the experiences of the 2009 farming season, when individuals claiming land, barged into the farm to disrupt the work that was going on.

Mr. Morris said the farm currently boasts of 430 employees and 130 volunteer workers who are all Liberians.

He said last year the company cultivated 1,700 hectares of rice, but that due to the low yield which he attributed to the company’s inability to acquire fertilizer, they harvested 16,5,00 (100 kg) bags, but lost half of the harvest, and may lose continue to lose more rice, if the ADA/LAP Board does not take a decision as to what to do with the rice.

Mr. Morris disclosed that this (2010) farming season, ADA/LAP will cultivate between 3,000 and 4,000 hectares, and produce the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) three times a year to enable the company begin the exportation of rice from Foya District to other parts of Liberia.

Mr. Morris however said due to the erratic rains, the farm will produce the LAC-3 only one a year. Mr. Morris said ADA is currently faced with two serious challenges, which he cited as the bad road condition and maintenance of the hi-tech modern equipment brought in by the company.

The ADA/LAP Managing Director said due to the bad road condition, the company spends four to five times what it would spend in normal circumstances on the maintenance of vehicles. He also indicated that due to the sophisticated nature of the equipment, the company is constrained to bring in technicians from the manufacturer to repair them whenever they develop problems.

Mr. Morris pledged his company’s willingness to do anything within its power to restore the credibility of the company, not only in its operational area, but nationally.

The ADA/LAP rice project, a US$30 million investment, is a joint venture of the African Development Aid and the Libyan African Portfolio.