The Mano River Union (MRU) together with the African Development Fund is set to assist 1,500 women traders in cassava, palm oil and vegetables value chain in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The project is part of the Build Inclusive Business Ecosystems for Stabilisation and Transformation (BI-BEST) in the MRU. The aim of the project is to empower Women Traders (WTs) in cross border Value Chain (VCs) for resilient economic growth and social cohesion.

Palm oil farming is a lucrative business in the sub-region provided farmers are equipped with the right support. According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), palm oil provides living for about seven million smallholders globally and also plays crucial role in supporting economies of producing countries. Most traders often travel to rural areas where they purchase farm produce.

But experts in the two countries say most traders in the MRU are constrained with sophisticated buying power that often discourage them from travelling far.

The MRU is made up of four West African States including Ivory Coast and Guinea. Sierra Leone and Liberia are two of the poorest of the four States.