The USAID Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program is a flagship Feed the Future (FtF) Initiative, USAID-funded development program in Liberia 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.
USAID FED has met or exceeded its targets in 12 out of 26 indicators by the end of quarter three of fiscal year 2015 (FY15).
USAID FED is on track in nine other indicators and will be achieving or exceeding targets in these indicators by the end of September 2015.
For three indicators: 1) number of households with improved diet diversity as a result of USG assistance, 2) percentage reduction in Post-Harvest Losses (for rice, cassava and vegetables) and 3) gross margins, special surveys will be carried out in quarter four to determine level of accomplishment.
For increased installed milling capacity, USAID FED has achieved 3600MT out of its target of 10,560MT. This represents 34% of target achieved. The target will be achieved with the completion of nine rice business hubs, which will have a total milling capacity of 7,600MT/annum. This is anticipated to be achieved by end of September 2015.
USAID FED planned in FY 15 to advance six policies to the next stage. These policies are: 1) the seed regulation, 2) pesticide regulation, 3) fertilizer regulation, 4) National Standards Laboratory (NSL), 5) National Livestock Policy, and 6) EO#64. EO#64 was implemented briefly, but did not have significant impact because its implementation period coincided with the Ebola outbreak. It expired in April 2015. Effectively, FED’s target has been reduced to five policies as a result of the expiry of EO#64. FED will focus work in advancing to the next stage the seed, pesticide and fertilizer regulations, the National Standards Laboratory, and the National Livestock Policy in quarter four. A seed policy STTA has been hired and commenced work in the last week of June.
Major Events in FY15 Quarter Three
On April 9th, 2015 the President of Liberia, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, were in Kakata, Margibi County to officially inaugurate Liberia’s first industrial rice processing and warehousing facility, Fabrar Liberia Inc. Fabrar Liberia Inc. (Fabrar) is a fully incorporated, Liberian owned and run agriculture holding firm created in 2009. In 2014, with financial and technical support from the U.S. Government through the USAID Food and Enterprise Development (USAID FED) program and private equity financing from West Africa Venture Fund, Fabrar was able to procure an automated rice processing mill and expand its warehouse facilities. The industrial scale facility, now with double its previous capacity, can mill 30 metric tons (MT) of rice each day and store 1,000-MT with proper ventilation and protection from pests, mold, fungus and mildew. As the country’s largest rice processor, and currently, the only industrial processor, Fabrar Liberia Inc. will provide Liberian farmers with an incentive and motivation to grow quality rice as a business and not just for subsistence.
On May 14, 2015 USAID FED hosted a high level delegation from USAID Washington, White House National Security Council, and the Congressional Liaison Office. The delegation visited one youth farming group in Margibi County called See Yourself Farming Group. This farming group is currently growing okra for export to the European markets. After visiting the farm, the delegation toured Fabrar Liberia Inc. rice processing facility at Kakata, Margibi County, which was supported by USAID FED. After completing the facility tour, the delegation participated in a round table discussion with USAID FED supported farmers and other beneficiaries representing all four USAID FED value chains. The delegation from Washington DC was headed by Eric Postel, Associate Administrator, USAID and John Mark Winfield, USAID Liberia Mission Director.
On May 20, 2015, USAID FED in collaboration with the Government of Liberia (GoL) inaugurated the Liberia Business Incubator (LBI) Cassava Processing Facility in Virginia, Monsterrado County. The Honorable Speaker of the House, Alex Tyler, US Ambassador Deborah Malac, the Honorable Minister of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Axel Addy, other GoL Officials, cassava farmers and representatives from development organizations officially launched the facility in the outskirts of Monrovia. LBI, a fully incorporated woman owned Liberian business which is also run as an agriculture holding firm, was created in 2010. LBI adds value to cassava by processing it into gari, fufu and cassava flour. USAID FED supported LBI with improved cassava processing equipment worth USD $44,950, which will enable the enterprise to process 5 MT of cassava per day instead of the previous 2 MT daily. LBI employs 6 staff but now with the added capacity will increase its staff to 14 full time employees.
On June 3, 2015 USAID FED conducted a roundtable conference with the media to discuss what the FED project is about, its accomplishments, ongoing and upcoming activities and future plans. A total of 21 media institutions participated in the event. At least five newspapers printed articles and four radio stations aired the roundtable discussion. Three online publications including the Government website, Liberia News Agency (LINA) published electronic articles about FED following the press roundtable event.