The Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program for Liberia is a USAID-funded development program that was launched in September 2011. USAID FED uses an all-inclusive strategy incorporating MSME farmers, processors, suppliers, women and youth while partnering with the government of Liberia and local civil societies to achieve food security.
The goal of USAID FED is to increase food availability, utilization, and accessibility by building an indigenous incentive structure that assists agricultural stakeholders in adopting commercial approaches.
This incentive structure will be built upon:
- Improved technology for productivity and profitability
- Expanded and modernized input supply and extension systems
- Commercial production, marketing, and processing
- Enterprise services
- Workforce development
FED works with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), civil societies and the private sector in providing communities access to agricultural inputs (including improved seeds), extension services, nutritious food products, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, agro-business education, training, and enterprise services.
In five years, FED’s thrust to expand market linkages is expected to lead to substantial increases in income and job opportunities. FED aims to significantly boost the production, processing, marketing and nutritional utilization of rice, cassava and vegetables, and to enhance the productivity of goat farming in the counties covered by the program.
These initiatives are being carried out in the counties of Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi. FED focused on these counties because they are situated along regional development corridors that are crucial in promoting intra and inter-county commerce. These growth corridors are expected to improve food availability and access for all Liberians.
FED’s methodology is market-led and value chain-driven; it is committed to develop indigenous capacity building, with specific focus on Liberia’s women and youth.
FED’s approach is collaborative and catalytic. It is driven by the goals and objectives of our partner clients. It aims to increase incomes of rural households and create new employment and livelihood opportunities for Liberians; to improve access to food and household dietary diversity scores of food-insecure Liberians; and to promote the use of improved inputs, better farming practices, and technologies that boost agricultural productivity.
FED is implemented by five partners, namely: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Louisiana State University (LSU), and The Cadmus Group.
FED has nearly completed the construction and outfitting of the three rice mill facilities in Boweh, Dounpa and Payee, Nimba county. The rice processing centers have been roofed, and the warehouse, milling room and a mini-store for processed rice are complete. Each site has a drying floor and a latrine. The processing centers are expected to be functional by the end of March. The three rice processing centers in Bong Mines, Totota and Garmue, Bong county are approximately three weeks from being completed.
FED initiated the first market linkages meeting between FABRAR and the Fuamah Multipurpose Cooperative Society in Bong Mines, one of FED’s largest rice production areas. Over 30 farmers participated in the event to discuss key issues of pricing and the short and long term benefits associated with selling to FABRAR. In the meeting, FABRAR offered $18.00 USD per 50kg of paddy rice after taking into consideration the associated costs of transport. The farmers countered with US$20 per 50kg of paddy rice. Negotiations continue and the two parties expect to establish a contractual agreement based on a mutually agreed price in March 2014.
FED goat farmers from 32 communities sold 94 goats in the month of February worth a total of $4,895 USD. Nimba county goat farmers led the way with $2,945 USD, followed by Lofa with $1,455 and Grand Bassa with $495.
In Nimba county, FED facilitated the first Trader Support event with vegetable lead farmers, traders and local catering firms from Nimba and neighboring Grand Bassa county. At the end of the event the lead farmers and Liberian catering firm ROSNA agreed to enter into a purchase contract to formalize their relationships.
FED registered 300 of 354 FED vegetable farmers for the voucher program in Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Grand Bassa counties. In the registration, FED distributed vouchers as well as instructional material about the voucher program. FED will finish registration in March. Redemption of vouchers will commence in mid-March, and vegetable farmers have approximately three weeks to redeem their vouchers.
FED prepared two Global Development Alliance (GDA) concept notes to present in March to Chevron to expand FED’s program to commercialize high value vegetables and to the Coca Cola Company to double FED’s reach to women farmers through the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) program.
The Grand Bassa Community College successfully acquired 30 acres from the community on which to locate the future demonstration farms and the rice mill and cassava processing operations towards creating a Center of Excellence for Agriculture. The location is accessible for students as well as the community.