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 micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) farmers, processors, suppliers, women, and youth while partnering with the Government of Liberia (GoL) 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 received 49 units of tuk-tuk from the vendor, MASARCO Inc. in August that are going to be distributed to youth entrepreneurs on a cost share basis. The entrepreneurs are going to provide transportation of raw cassava tubers, paddy rice, and goats from the farm gate to the market at a fee. USAID FED will provide training on business management and also help the youth entrepreneurs access loans for the improvement of their tuk-tuk businesses. In addition, the 49 youth will meet the operational and maintenance costs and pay 50% of the cost of tuk-tuk as their cost share. The distribution ceremony will be held on September 18 in Suakoko, Bong County. The three wheel tuk-tuks have a capacity to carry 1,500 kilograms of produce when fully loaded. Each youth was also provided with a tool kit, helmet, and other accessories for the repair and maintenance of the tuk-tuks. This initiative aims to address gaps in logistics to transport produce from the farm to the markets. Youth entrepreneurs were selected as beneficiaries in line with USAID FED’s conscious effort to increase youth participation in agriculture and to
create employment opportunities for youth in Liberia’s agriculture sector.
In August, the three refrigerated containers that USAID FED procured arrived in Liberia. A reefer container can store about 16MT of assorted vegetables. Two private sector partners, ROSNA Services Inc. and Gbomai Farms Inc., are the beneficiaries of the refrigerated containers. Both companies are owned and managed by Liberian women entrepreneurs. Hannah Blackett is the owner and CEO of ROSNA, and Gbomai Bestman owns Gbomai Farms Inc. ROSNA has been sourcing vegetables from USAID FED-supported vegetable growers since 2014 from Grand Bassa and Nimba counties. The companies will expand their businesses and local procurement with this added capacity to store more vegetables to supply workers in the concession areas and ERA Supermarket Chain, of which Ms. Blackett is also the CEO. Gbomai Farms is strategically located close to the Roberts International Airport, and plans to provide fee-based cold storage services to vegetable farmers in the surrounding area.
During August, a total of 1,950MT of cassava tubers were harvested from FY 14 USAID FED supported farmers. In August 512 MT of FY14 cassava tuber were sold for US$39,933. In total, 15,464 MT of FY14 cassava tubers have been sold for US$724,630 year to date.
USAID FED continues to see stable sales of goats by USAID FED supported farmers. During August, a total of 335 goats from USAID FED supported farmers were sold for US$21,318. In total, 5,466 goats have been sold for US$308,954 year to date.
Under USAID FED’s Task 2.0, a complete and final draft of the Liberia Seed Regulation was submitted to the MoA on August 27, 2015. The USAID FED local seed policy expert, Dr. Roland Massaquoi, a former Minister of Agriculture, is working with the MoA to facilitate the passage of the Liberia Seed Policy and Regulation.
In August 2015, an International Pesticides Policy Expert, Dr. Alan Schroeder was hired by USAID FED to provide support to the “domestication” of the ECOWAS Pesticide Regulation. He is going to present the draft Pesticide Policy and Regulations to stakeholders at a workshop to be held on September 2-3, 2015. It is expected that the complete and final draft of the Liberia Pesticide Policy and Regulations will be submitted to the MoA by the end of September 2015.
USAID FED concluded partnership discussions with the West Africa Fertilizer Project (WAFP), resulting in the production of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is expected to be signed on September 3, 2015. This will result in a joint effort between WAFP and USAID FED to support the Ministry of Agriculture in developing a draft of the Liberia Fertilizer Regulation, including its implementing guidelines. These draft regulations will be presented at a two-day stakeholder validation workshop, which will facilitate the domestication of the ECOWAS Fertilizer Regulation in Liberia. Under the leadership of the MoA, USAID FED and WAFP intend to conduct the validation workshop from September 22-23, 2015.
The Business Service Providers (BSPs) sub-contracted by USAID FED trained 3,179 MSMEs on business management. The training program covered topics that include establishing and registering a business, planning for a successful business, marketing, and financial management. The BSPs also facilitated the registration of 124 MSMEs during the month of August. The support provided to the businesses included preparing articles of incorporation; by-laws and constitutions; and actual registration with the Liberia Business Registry (LBR) or with the MoCI’s Department of Small Business Administration.
In August, a USAID FED supported farming group, the United Communities Agriculture Group from Jeremiah Gardee Town in Grand Bassa awarded a US$89,187 grant by the United States African Development Foundation (USADF). USADF selected this group as grantee due to their successful adoption and implementation of technologies and practices learned from USAID FED interventions. Through the support of USAID FED, the United Communities Agriculture Group has become one of the largest cassava producing communities in Grand Bassa, and the group intends to use the grant to expand their commercial cassava production.
During the reporting period, USAID FED facilitated the process for the Monrovia Vegetable Seller Association (MVSA) to receive a US$25,000 loan from Liberia Entrepreneurial and Asset Development (LEAD). The MVSA will use the loan to provide inputs (embedded financing) to 474 USAID FED supported vegetable farmers on credit. The farmers will sell their produce to MVSA and the loan will be deducted from the total value of vegetable sales.
In August, the installation of laboratory equipment began at the newly renovated science laboratories in all four USAID FED supported Centers of Excellence for Agricultural Vocational Education (CoEs). Installation of equipment in all four laboratories will be completed in September.