As part of efforts to add value to the development and harvesting of cotton fiber, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), through its RIPE (Rural Industrial Promotion program for Economic Empowerment), with funding from the LIFE Fund (Liberia Innovative Fund for Entrepreneur), and support from the government of Japan, will commence the construction of a modern textile center in Kolahun, Lofa County.
The construction of the 3,000 square foot facility, furnished with modern equipment including power looms, industrial hand looms and polishing machines begins this week and is expected to further expand the Liberian country cloth textile industry. Addressing a news conference last Friday, Commerce Minister Axel Addy indicated that the project entitled the “Lofa Women Weaving Center”, promotes the Ministry’s inclusive growth agenda to support the advancement of local production by fostering SME participation in cottage industries in Liberia. According to him, the center which completion timeline is estimated at 180 days is the first of several LIFE-funded capital infrastructural projects being implemented by MOCI. Minister Addy lamented that the development of the facility dedicated to promoting the expansion of Liberia signature textile, the “Lofa Cloth” commonly called the “Country Cloth” will stimulate the development of the sector and contribute to meeting the growing demand of Lofa Cloth stimulated by the every Friday “Wear Your Pride” campaign announced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her annual message some time ago. He furthered that the industrialization of not only the cloth, but the development of a cotton industry and the promotion of planting and harvesting of cotton fiber will reduce the reliance on imported raw materials and enhance value addition within the textile industry. For her part, Deputy Commerce Minister for Industry, Ellen Pratt, emphasized that the cost of construction is estimated at US$231,000.00. She stated that the sole intent of the project is geared towards adding value to locally made products beginning with the Liberian country cloth. “The 25 acres site will weave raw cotton produced by local producers which would further boost economic growth and development,” she said. Also speaking, Lansana K. Dawon, President of the Liberia National Tailors and Textile Garment and Allied Workers Union lauded the ministry along with its partners for the initiative. “We are excited for the construction of the center because it adds value to our local production and increases productivity in the textile industry,” he averred. Kolahun District Representative Clarence Massaquoi also promised the fullest support of the residents of Kolahun for the smooth execution of the project. Representative Massaquoi mentioned that the project testifies that Lofa County remains a key part of an ongoing economic growth and development. “We will support this project, and it will definitely succeed if the success rests on the cooperation and participation of the people of Kolahun,” Representative Massaquoi added.