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 supported the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) to hold the National M/SME Conference 2014, April 29 and 30 at Monrovia’s City Hall. This year’s conference put a spotlight on agri-business and youth, and USAID FED supported the event by providing human resource, logistical and technical support. USAID FED showcased its activities in the trade fair and produced a rice video documentary which was aired at the conference during the USAID FED sponsored policy forum as well as at the awards dinner.
The President of Liberia signed Executive Order #64, suspending import tariffs on “essential equipment, agricultural seeds, live animals for breeding, and other goods directly related to agricultural development” on April 25, 2014. USAID FED began to lobby for this in November 2013 and put together the list of agro-inputs and corresponding HS codes for MoCI to use to lobby for the measure. The LABEE IPG (Liberia Agriculture Business Enabling Environment Inter-agency Policy Group), an executive level policy group that will focus on improving the BEE for agriculture that was conceptualized by FED, was launched at the MSME Conference.
USAID FED surveyed farmers in Lofa County to ascertain the quantities of surplus rice available, and facilitated an agreement on rice prices for the potential sale to FABRAR Rice Liberia. Farmers accepted FABRAR’s offer of $19 USD per 50kg bag of paddy rice. FABRAR will provide a 25% up front deposit and begin transporting the rice from Lofa to Kakata in May.
CARI received the first batch of improved cassava cuttings from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). USAID FED is supporting CARI in importing 11 improved varieties. The first batch received from the IITA consists of 24,000 cuttings of six improved varieties. The cuttings were planted in control sites for monitoring of adaptability to local climate, pests and diseases. An additional 20,000 cuttings are expected from IITA in May.
USAID FED and CARI inaugurated the CARI Livestock Quarantine Facility in Suakoko, Bong County. US Ambassador to Liberia, Ms. Deborah Malac, cut the ribbon at the inauguration attended by Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ms. Seklau Wiles, the Head of Livestock Research at CARI, Dr. Arthur Karnuah, Land O Lakes Acting Chief of Party, Ms. Allison Williams and USAID FED staff. Land O Lakes is expected to import the first 100 goats that will form part of the nucleus breeding herd for CARI by end of June 2014.