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, 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.
During the reporting period, USAID FED supported lowland rice farmers and surpassed targets for land preparation, covering over 1,426 ha of lowland rice fields. Rice transplanting on all sites is expected to be completed by next month.
All 50 UDP three-treatment trial sites, covering 150 ha of land, were planted in July as well. In addition, rice seedling transplanting is ongoing at 89 UDP-only sites. The transplanting is expected to be completed in August.
By the end of July, the construction on three rice business hubs in Lofa County (David Selma Town, Foya and Serkonnedu) and one rice business hub in Grand Bassa County (Kpelleh Town) was completed. Including the three rice business hubs inaugurated in Nimba County in Q3, the project has completed construction of buildings to house seven rice business hubs in Bong, Grand Bassa and Lofa Counties. Except for the 3 business hubs in Lofa, the rest are already equipped with rice mills and are now functional.
USAID FED has completed the construction of eight rice business hubs in Lofa (3), Bong (1), Nimba (3) and Grand Bassa (1). Three business hubs inaugurated in Nimba County in Q3 are equipped with rice mills and functional, while equipment installation in Bong, Grand Bassa and Lofa counties will be done in August.
In July, Fabrar Liberia’s processing facilities were completed, and a new rice milling line was delivered to the facility. Fabrar Liberia now has two operational rice milling lines. In addition, Fabrar Liberia hired and trained 12 machine operators to work the milling lines. The inauguration of the facility was originally scheduled to take place on August 29, 2014, but has been postponed to September 30, 2014, due to the Ebola outbreak.
USAID FED facilitated meetings between four medium-sized processors in Montserrado County—FALIMA Inc., Liberia Business Incubator, RASA Liberia, Yaehe Agricultural Processors—and cassava clusters in the four counties. The meetings informed the farmers of the processors’ requirements in terms of volume, varieties and timing. They also served as platform for negotiating prices. USAID FED expects the four processors to commence cassava purchasing in August 2014.
In July, USAID FED selected 30 bucks from the first batch of 209 goats imported by the partner Land O’Lakes. The goats were distributed to goat production sites in Nimba County. This will introduce new genetic material to the village herds, reduce in-breeding and is expected to improve production performance of the herds.
USAID FED partner Gro Green began the installation of greenhouses at vegetable cluster sites in Montserrado County starting with the Mawah cluster. The rain shelters will allow farmers to grow high value vegetables during the rainy season.
In July, USAID FED and fourteen instructors from the four Centers of Excellence developed the second semester lesson plans and NDA program syllabi. CoE administrations also decided on transition plans to incorporate the NDA in the CoE academic programs.