The USAID 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 society 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 is 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
USAID FED works with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), civil society and the private sector in providing communities access to agricultural inputs, extension services, nutrition messages, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, agro-business education, training, and business development services.
In five years, USAID FED’s thrust to expand market linkages is expected to lead to substantial increases in income and job opportunities. USAID 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 Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi counties. USAID FED focuses 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.
USAID FED’s methodology is market-led and value chain-driven; it is committed to developing indigenous capacity building, with a specific focus on Liberia’s women and youth.
USAID FED is implemented by five partners: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Louisiana State University (LSU), and The Cadmus Group.
In order to boost rice production, USAID FED has partnered with rice producers in Liberia to help them transform from subsistence farmers to commercial rice producers. During the month of January, USAID FED partner farmers sold 1,132 MT at a value of USD $460,280. Cumulatively, 1,368.92MT of FY14 rice crop has been sold at a value of USD $554,324.21 year-to-date. Both numbers represent a substantial increase compared to previous year’s harvest in the same months.
During January, a total of 565.16MT of FY13 cassava tubers were sold for USD $40,720.64. Of these, 416.80MT were from the demonstration sites and 148.36MT from individual farmer fields. In total, 3,600.34MT of FY13 crop have been sold for USD $388,996.88.
During the month of January, USAID FED facilitated meetings between cassava processors from Monrovia and producer groups in Lofa County over a five day period. These meetings introduced large buyers from Monrovia and informed the farmers on their requirements. Alternatively, buyers are made aware of where to source cassava tubers that best fit their requirements. Agreements on weight, price per ton, volume to be supplied weekly and payment terms were negotiated. In February, sales agreements will be signed between the clusters and processors along these terms.
Through January 2015, USAID FED has supported the creation of 123 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) for 3,400 farmers, most of which were women. Furthermore, by January 2015, the VSLA groups have generated access to capital for investment in agricultural activities in the amount of USD $150,196. The savings and financing mechanism provides farmers with access to capital as well as experience in financial organization. Program farmers have made loans of over USD $30,460 in January 2015.
Through January 2015, LEAD has disbursed loans to more than 459 farmers (174 male and 285 female). The total LEAD loans through this partnership were for USD $39,900 as part of this partnership with USAID FED. USAID FED is further working with LEAD to identify additional farmers in FY 2015 who will be able to receive loans from LEAD and further business skills training from FED.
Graduation ceremonies were conducted in five of USAID FED operating counties: Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Margibi and Grand Bassa for 103 women between the ages of 18 to 58, who successfully completed the leadership and Business Incubation Training for Women Entrepreneurs. USAID FED designed the Leadership and Business Incubation program for Women Entrepreneurs to address two critical constraints facing women: lower human capital (leadership and business skills) and limited access to networks and information. The project uses a combined capacity development approach through basic leadership and business skills training followed by mentorship and virtual business incubation.
During January, USAID FED completed the compost preparation training workshop at the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), where over 20 participants from the four Centers of Excellence (CoE’s) were in attendance. In January, USAID FED finalized the preparations for an exposure visit to Vocational Education Institutions in Ghana for the four CoE’s. The purpose of the visit is for CoE staff to get insights from more advanced vocational agricultural institutions on how to enhance program delivery and ensure sustainable management of their institutions.