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 period, USAID FED signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Lofa County Community College (LCCC), Nimba County Community College (NCCC) and Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC). According to the MoUs, USAID FED will support the CoEs to establish enterprises that will generate additional revenues to be used for the up-keep of the facilities and equipment that the program will put in place. The enterprises will also serve as avenues for practical on-farm exercises for students enrolled under the NDA program.
USAID FED delivered the second rice mill line to Fabrar Liberia’s processing facility in Kakata. Fabrar Liberia installed two rice mill lines and started processing paddy rice in stock. The inauguration of the facility was expected to take place during the month of August, but was postponed due to the current Ebola crisis.
During the month of August, 2,000 bags of surplus rice valued at $38,000 USD were verified in Lofa County for sale to Fabrar Liberia. In addition, 750 bags of surplus rice valued at $13,500 USD were verified in Nimba County. It is anticipated that Fabrar Liberia will procure the surplus rice during the month of September, as the need for locally produced rice increases due to shortages emerging as a result of the Ebola crisis.
USAID FED conducted a vegetable market assessment exercise in Grand Bassa County to identify and map out additional markets for the sales of vegetables in FY15 .The assessment revealed seven potential markets along the Montserrado and Grand Bassa corridor that are trading predominately in cucumber, eggplant and okra. USAID FED vegetable clusters can consider these markets for future sales of vegetables.
In the reporting period, USAID FED began vegetable seed trials on lettuce, hot pepper, African eggplant, bitter ball and tomatoes at Mawah Cluster in Montserrado County. The seeds were sown in a nursery in August and will be transplanted to the fields in September. The trials will assist the vegetable value chain make conclusions on each vegetable’s performance.
USAID FED also produced a video on nutrition titled “Healthy Foods for Pregnant Women and Children” which will serve as a visual reinforcement of the importance of diversified nutrition during nutrition training and other presentations.
USAID FED Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) and extension aides ear tagged a total of 83 goats at seven FY13 goat production sites, and 14 goats at one FY14 goat production site in Grand Bassa County (Figure 7). The ear tagging process continues in the remaining counties in September.
Ear tagging of goats is a useful tool to identify and record performance of goats under improved management practices.
By the end of August, 2,398.82 ha of upland rice were planted at the 224 FED sites. All counties exceeded targets for area cultivation of upland rice. The farmers will spend September weeding and caring for their respective rice fields. Some of the farms that planted rice crop much earlier are now experiencing panicle initiation.
USAID FED completed the evaluation of 15 micro and small processors regarding their equipment requirements. USAID FED also conducted a total of 16 micro and small processors building inspections.
During FY15, 27 county-based micro-processors and three Monrovia-based small processors will be assisted to upgrade processing capacities and enable them to operate profitably.