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 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 May 14, 2015 USAID FED hosted a high level delegation from USAID Washington, White House National Security Council, and the Congressional Liaison Office. The delegation visited one youth farming group in Margibi County called See Yourself Farming Group. This farming group is currently growing okra for export to the European markets. After visiting the farm, the delegation toured Fabrar Liberia Inc. rice processing facility at Kakata, Margibi County, which was supported by USAID FED. After completing the facility tour, the delegation participated in a round table discussion with USAID FED supported farmers and other beneficiaries representing all four USAID FED value chains. The delegation from Washington DC was headed by Eric Postel, Associate Administrator, USAID and John Mark Winfield, USAID Liberia Mission Director.
During May, a total of 419.35 MT of FY14 rice crop was sold at a value of USD $206,781. A cumulative total of 3,110.89 MT of FY14 rice crops have been sold at a value of USD $1,410,844.53 year to date.
On May 20, 2015, USAID FED in collaboration with the Government of Liberia (GoL) inaugurated the Liberia Business Incubator (LBI) Cassava Processing Facility in Virginia, Monsterrado County. The Honorable Speaker of the House, Alex Tyler, US Ambassador Deborah Malac, the Honorable Minister of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Axel Addy, other GoL Officials, cassava farmers and representatives from development organizations officially launched the facility in the outskirts of Monrovia. LBI, a fully incorporated woman owned Liberian business which is also run as an agriculture holding firm, was created in 2010. LBI adds value to cassava by processing it into gari, fufu and cassava flour. USAID FED supported LBI with improved cassava processing equipment worth USD $44,950, which will enable the enterprise to process 5 MT of cassava per day instead of the previous 2 MT daily. LBI employs 6 staff but now with the added capacity will increase its staff to 14 full time employees.
USAID FED has a partnership with LEAD that links farmers with access to financing from LEAD so that they can receive loans to improve their farms. In May, LEAD increased the Zeelie Farmers Association loan from USD $10,000 to USD $24,000. John Selma, the head of the group and a USAID FED supported beneficiary of Zeelie, is the recipient of the loan. USAID FED is helping John Selma to acquire a truck to facilitate and grow his rice trading business.
USAID FED Component Three organized a power tiller operations and maintenance Training of Trainers (ToT) for agro technicians and instructors at three CoE’s during the reporting period. The objective of this training is to train the CoE students and staff on the use of power tillers to improve the production and efficiency of farming on their demonstration farms. In addition, the power tiller operators will provide their services to the surrounding community farmers for the promotion of income generation and for the maintenance of the equipment. The five-day training commenced on May 12, 2015, at Nimba County Community College (NBCC) and was followed by Lofa County Community College (LCCC) and the Booker Washington Institute (BWI). GBCC training will follow upon receipt of a power tiller from USAID FED.