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 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 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 societies and the private sector in providing communities access to agricultural inputs—including improved seed varieties—extension services, nutrition messages, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, agrobusiness education, training, and enterprise 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.
During the reporting period, USAID FED in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) formally inaugurated and officially turned over three community-based Rice Business Hubs in Nimba County (Doumpa, Payee and Boweh) to beneficiaries.
The Rice Business Hubs, which are intended to support the community’s ability to process and store their rice, are equipped with a mill, destoner, thresher, parboiling machine, water source and latrines. The hubs, which are managed by the farmers themselves, will give other rice farmers in these communities access to a fee-based milling service.
USAID FED verified rice surplus available in Lofa County and provided this information to Fabrar Liberia, a large rice mill operator. FED facilitated the negotiation between Fabrar and the farmers by providing information on costs and the markets, helping the processor and the farmers to agree on US$19 price per 50kg bag. Fabrar Liberia made a 25% down payment of $5,785.50 USD for 1,200 bags of paddy rice, or 60.9 MT. The balance of $17,356.50 USD will be paid out in June upon collection of the paddy rice.
Fabrar made it clear to rice farmers that they were willing to purchase up to 40,000 bags of paddy rice, and as a result, Foya-based farmers reported another 1,500 bags of paddy rice in their inventories.
USAID FED supported a goat trading event in Nimba County to pilot a marketing platform that aims to provide a formal and regular venue for traders and goat farmers to carry out buying and selling transactions. A total of 13 lead farmers from goat producing clusters in Nimba County and six goat traders participated in the event where 20 goats were sold for $965 USD.
Both traders and goat farmers responded positively to the event which indicates that this platform has strong potential. Valuable lessons have been learned that will be considered in the subsequent goat trading events. A major finding is the need to better understand: 1) the specifications/standards for pricing of goats and volumes needed and 2) the trading and payment structure and practices in the goat/livestock trade in Liberia.
ROSNA, which provides catering for Arcelor Mittal, signed a new purchasing contract with 2014 Yekepa farmers who have reported $2,500 USD in revenues as a result of their business dealings with ROSNA.
USAID FED organized a one-day round table event to discuss the role of radio in agriculture extension. During the event, USAID FED signed MoUs with four community radio stations from Lofa, Bong, Grand Bassa and Nimba counties towards the production and airing of 30-minute agriculture-focused radio shows. County radio stations, lead farmers the Press Union of Liberia, MoA and other agri-business stakeholders participated in the event. USAID FED is providing four computers, digital voice recorders, rain gear, monthly telephone scratch cards and internet modems to enhance program delivery by these stations.