By: Christopher Wiah
Bushrod Island-Liberia: Several marketers who are local dealers in rice, early Tuesday morning, March 29, 2022, staged a half day protest against importers’ refusal to supply rice to the Market.
They alleged that the importers were creating artificial scarcity of the commodity in an effort to hike the price. Rice is Liberia’s stable food. Government spends up to US$200M on importation of rice from burkinafaso, Indonesia and other countries to suit the consumption needs of the citizenry (National Budget Paper 2022).
In protestation, the protesting group blocked the main Vai town way to the Gabriel Tucker Bridge and the King Sao Boswain end leading to broad Street, thereby stoping the flow of normal traffic and pedestrians movements
Our reporter who visited the scene indicated that all of the rice importers stores along the Vai and Clara belt were locked with security guards infront of each.
Currently, a 25kg bag of rice is sold at seventeen United States Dollars or it’s equivalent.
The protesters attributed the action of the importers to the assumed high tariffs on the importation of the commodity
They claimed that the blocking of the main road was in an Attempt to draw govt attention to growing wave of food insecurity. The alleged action of the importers is similar to the 1979 rice riot that resulted into huge protest and conflict across Monrovia and it’s environs.
Meanwhile, two of the importers managements namely ‘Supplying West Africa Traders Incorporated and United Commodities Incorporated refused to speak on the matter.
The protesters have also threatened to petition the Legislature on the matter in an effort to avoid the hike in prices of the Country’s stable food, rice.