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, while ensuring increased availability and utilization among the large number of subsistence producers.
This incentive structure for commercial agribusiness is being built upon:
- Improved technologies for productivity and profitability;
- Expanded and modernized input supply and extension systems;
- Commercial production, marketing, and processing activities;
- A range of enterprise services; and
- Agriculturally focused workforce development.
FED’s activities work with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the private sector to link communities to appropriate improvements to their farming systems, new technologies, agricultural inputs (including improved seeds), extension services, nutritious food products, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, and appropriate education, training, and enterprise support services.
Over the life of the five-year FED program, expanded market linkages will lead to substantial income and job growth and 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 targeted as regional development corridors to foster intra- and inter-county commerce, simultaneously improving food availability and access for all Liberians.
FED operates through three main components:
- Component One: Increased Agricultural Productivity: Works on agricultural technologies and techniques, such as improved varieties and seed, fertilizer use, mechanization, improved extension, integrated pest management (IPM), and other improvements to production, postharvest, processing and marketing of the four value chain products to improve food availability at the household level, incomes and nutrition.
- Component Two: Stimulate Private Enterprise: Strengthening agribusinesses, improving their access to inputs, finance, and markets, training and working with individuals and groups of entrepreneurs, improving their skills in business management, marketing, and use of modern technologies to add value and increase profits.
- Component Three: Build Local Human Capacity: Works with the vocational agriculture schools and other related institutions on workforce development, improving the skill sets of all those engaged in agribusiness, including farmers, enterprise employees, businessmen, and women.
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 increases in incomes for rural households, new employment opportunities for Liberians, increased access to food and improved household dietary diversity scores for food-insecure Liberians, and the adoption of improved inputs, farming practices, and technologies which boost agricultural productivity.
In FY 2012, FED was implemented by seven international partners including: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Samaritan’s Purse, Louisiana State University, The Cadmus Group, and the Center for Development and Population Activities.
This annual report for The Food and Enterprise Development (FED) project, part of USAID Liberia’s Feed the Future initiative, covers the period from October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012, and focuses on successes, accomplishments, and highlights under the USAID-approved first year work plan and its activities designed around the targets in the approved Performance Management Plan (PMP).
Some highlights during the Year 1 work plan included:
- FED used mobile data collection for its baseline, allowing data to automatically be geo-tagged in real time. FED interviewed approximately 1,000 households using mobile technology, employing both mobile and geospatial technology for the majority of data collection efforts. A ten-day training transitioned management of FED’s mobile data collection to the M&E/GIS coordinator.
- One-day consultative workshop in Monrovia with the MoA, MoF, and MFIs to develop guidelines for an agro-input supply action plan for Liberia.
- Building collaborative links with local and regional input suppliers to improve the range, costs and availability of inputs.
- Testing, local production and introduction of technologies, including rotary rice weeders from Madagascar, treadle pumps, power tillers, impact rice de-hullers, driers and one pass rice mills.
- Local private soil testing service established and FED extension agents trained on crop planning, input procurement, and testing of soil to determine available nutrients in the soil, with similar training provided to two of the rainy season vegetable groups from Mount Barclay and Cocoa Factory communities which benefited 40 farmers (31 women, 9 men).
- FED and MoA extension staff trained in rice production techniques, and technologies to reduce production and processing labor bottlenecks and increase rice yields tested and demonstrated.
- Rice production and processing demonstration training in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, and Grand Bassa counties with 772 participants from June 13-22, 2012.
- Basic training in lowland rice and upland vegetable farming for a total of 342 farmers (177 women, 165 men) for the Doumpa Community Agriculture Project.
- FED conducted a groundbreaking ceremony on July 7, 2012, with My Brother’s Keeper orphanage, located in Careysburg, Montserrado County for a demonstration vegetable plot. The orphans continue to grow vegetables, including bitterball, peppers, cucumber, okra, watermelon, cabbage, eggplant, potato, collards, and sweet potato greens.
- SMEs training in the cassava value chain in collaboration with the National Cassava Sector Coordination Committee in Monrovia with 24 participants (10 women, 14 men).
- Joint venture agreement signed between Chevron, AEDE, New Generational Women and FED to implement a 75 acre cassava production and processing enterprise and engage in commercial vegetable production and marketing on Coopers Farm in Clay Ashland.
- Launch of the 2012 National Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) vaccination campaign, in collaboration with the MoA, BRAC, USDA Land O’Lakes, and Samaritan’s Purse. The vaccine was administered to goats and sheep across Liberia in Lofa, Bong, Nimba, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, and Margibi counties during the month of September, reaching over 120,000 sheep and goats, and impacting 226,836 households.
- Business management skills training workshop and follow up mentoring for selected SMEs and producer groups in Monrovia with a total of 26 participants trained (9 women, 17 men).
- Business Skills Training Seminars for Liberian Farmer Associations in Grand Bassa and Nimba counties with a total of 62 participants (30 women, 32 men).
- A three-day teacher’s training workshop for the VES and youth VES for 52 teachers (11 women, 41 men) and a stakeholder’s meeting for 32 teachers (2 women, 17 men) held at BWI and the Nimba County Community College from June 14-20, 2012.
- The BWI Department of Agriculture HOD, led a workshop on curriculum development, using his own course on compost making, following the ECOWA TVET curriculum model. This will serve as the model for the post-secondary National Agricultural Diploma Curriculum.
- FED launched its pilot phase of the internship program on July 31, 2012. To date, 58 students, age 20 to 35, have been selected from four universities and technical schools, and placed in 20 public institutions, NGOs, INGOs, and farm enterprises across Liberia.