Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
Jeanine Cooper has been working on food insecurity for the past 12 years in eastern Africa. As a child growing up in Liberia, she watched her father, a renowned agriculturalist, working with Liberian rice farmers to demonstrate green revolution techniques and try to improve farming methodologies. The challenges faced by rice farmers in the 60’s and 70’s remain: lack of access to markets, poor quality and availability of farm inputs, poor extension service provision & low incomes. But Liberia has a huge resource endowment: low population density & abundant arable farm land; bountiful rainfall and plenty of sunshine. Liberia is one of the most food insecure countries in the world, importing over 60% of its consumption of the staple food, rice. Local production of rice is for subsistence and excess production usually rots in the field. Without agricultural inputs or extension services, yields are low and post harvest losses are high. Cooper is inspired to transform this situation by applying innovative solutions to the problems facing Liberian small holder rice farmers. By making local produce marketable and empowering Liberian farmers, Cooper is building consumer demand to stimulate local rice production. Using her & her management team’s experience in agricultural marketing, social mobilization, advocacy and coordination, she has set up a replicable social enterprise. This model combines a commercial business with socio-economic development objectives to more effectively address the challenges to improving the livelihoods of rice farmers.