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 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.
On February 15, 2015, a USAID FED delegation headed by its Training and Administrative Coordinator along with Sr. Vocational Agriculture Educational Officer traveled on a study tour with representatives from the four supported Centers of Excellence (CoE) to the following institutions in Ghana: Animal Health & Production College (AHPC), Kwadaso Agriculture College and Adidome Farm Institute. Twelve members (11 males and 1 female) from the four CoEs participated in this study tour. The general objectives of the tour included: studying the achievements of the Ghanaian institutions; identifying profitable enterprises for establishment in Liberia; forming partnerships with our Ghanaian counterparts and providing the platform for teaching staff to learn from each other, improve the quality of their curriculum and teaching methods; learning new techniques for the development of farm enterprises and promoting sustainable income generation; and developing action plans, budgets and deliverable timelines for implementation.
In order to boost rice production, USAID FED has partnered with rice producers in Liberia to help them transform from subsistence farmers to commercial rice producers. During February, USAID FED partner farmers sold a total of 694.75MT of FY14 rice crop at a value of USD $297,328.82. A cumulative total of 2,063.67MT of FY14 rice crop has been sold at a value of USD $851,653.03 year to date. Both numbers represent a substantial increase compared to previous year’s harvest in the same months.
During February, a total of 135.30 MT of FY13 cassava tubers were harvested from 6.01 Ha of FY13 FED supported demonstration sites. In total, 117.67 Ha has been harvested yielding 2,210.68 MT of cassava tubers. Also in February, a total of 453.90 MT of FY13 cassava tubers were sold for USD $44,503.58. In total, 4,779.14 MT of FY13 crop has been sold for USD $511,973.74 year to date.
USAID FED convened its first Policy Forum for FY15 to discuss issues around optimal rice pricing, Executive Order #64 (Duty Free Waiver for Agricultural Importation) and the local procurement law. It was concluded during the forum that in order for Executive Order # 64 to be effective, the GoL should draft a law that will: be applicable for more than the current one year time period of the EO, simplify the language in the document, clarify the duty waiver procedure and shorten the amount of time private investors spend following up on the paperwork. LABEE Technical Working Group Members such as USAID Liberia, USAID FED, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Finance and Planning Development (MoFPD), Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), National Investment Commission (NIC), Representatives from the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, private sector representatives (including Grogreen, Greenfield Liberia, Fabrar Inc.) and many other representatives attended this forum. The Central Bank of Liberia Micro-Finance Unit, through the Loan Extension and Availability Facility (LEAF) program, has provided L$1,250,000 (USD $15,000) loan to five VSLA groups supported by USAID FED, namely: Zeelie VSLA, WOFPD VSLA, Kobeke VSLA, Yeapugimai VSLA and Kukatonon VSLA. Each group received L$250,000 or USD $3,000 to be paid back within a three year period in three installments at a 3% interest rate. To date, out of the total of 50 VSLA groups, five have had the opportunity to receive the loan and this figure will increase in March 2015.