The Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program for Liberia is a USAID-funded initiative that began in September 2011. Through implementing a Liberian strategy which incorporates women and youth, FED is helping the government of Liberia and the country achieve food security — in terms of food availability, utilization, and accessibility — by building an indigenous incentive structure that assists a range of agricultural stakeholders to adopt 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; and
- Workforce Development.
FED works with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the private sector to link communities to agricultural inputs (including improved seeds), extension services, nutritious food products, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, as well as appropriate education, training, and enterprise services.
Over the life of the five-year FED program, expanded market linkages will lead to substantial income and job growth along with major increases in the production, processing, marketing, and nutritional utilization of rice, cassava, vegetables, and goats in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi counties. These counties are being targeted in the context of regional development corridors that foster intra- and inter-county commerce, simultaneously improving food availability and access for all Liberians.
FED’s methodology is market-led, value chain-driven, continuously dedicated to indigenous capacity building, and specifically focused on benefiting Liberia’s women and youth. FED’s approach aims to be collaborative, catalytic, and driven by the goals and objectives of our partner clients. It will lead to increased incomes for rural households, new employment opportunities for Liberians, expanded access to food and improved household dietary diversity scores for food-insecure Liberians, in addition to the adoption of improved inputs, farming practices, and technologies which boost agricultural productivity.
FED is implemented by five partners including: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Louisiana State University and CADMUS.
Between April-June activity across FED’s four value chains: rice, cassava, peri-urban vegetables, and goats ramped up throughout the six counties of operation; Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado.
This quarter FED continued to work closely with 117 rice farmer groups representing 8,278 farmers on 2,328 ha of demonstration areas. Eighty lead farmers participated in in a rice seed production workshop to learn methods and best practices for new rice seed production on 20 acres. Improved mechanization is in place at a number of these rice sites with seven power tillers having been distributed to increase productivity. Eighty one beneficiaries were trained in key post-harvest techniques such as: rat guards, drying floors, parboiling tanks, training was provided in fabrication and installation.
In the cassava value chain, significant improvements have been made in the identification and training of 121 cassava groups representing 5,976 farmers working on a total land demonstration area of 511 hectares. A total of 1,611 bundles of disease free cassava cuttings were procured and distributed during this period.
This quarter more than 50% of the lead goat farmers fully completed their sites with shelters, water supplies, fencing, and were trained in post-partum care methods.t=The remaining 50% will be completed by the end of Q4.
Market linkage events were held in June (in Nimba and Grand Bassa) where 150 farmers, aggregators, transporters and caterers participated in the event and were informed about the ArcelorMittal market opportunity. FED in collaboration with Building Markets, organized the event aimed at enabling producers and aggregators to supply locally produced agricultural products for the steel mining company’s catering services throughout Liberia.
Component Three saw the graduation of 164 interns from eight different educational institutions from the agri-business internships after they gained life changing work experience with 46 different public and private sector organizations.
Five hundred and seventy six textbooks have now been distributed to community colleges throughout FED’s counties of operation. These textbooks will greatly enhance students and academic instructors access to agricultural and business academic resources.