The Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program for Liberia is a USAID-funded initiative that began in September 2011. Through implementing a Liberian strategy which incorporates women and youth, FED will help the government of Liberia and the country achieve food security — in terms of food availability, utilization, and accessibility — by building an indigenous incentive structure that assists a range of agricultural stakeholders to adopt commercial approaches.
This incentive structure will be built upon:
- Improved technology for productivity and profitability;
- Expanded and modernized input supply and extension systems;
- Commercial production, marketing, and processing;
- Enterprise Services; and
- Workforce Development.
FED’s activities will work with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the private sector to link communities to agricultural inputs (including improved seeds), extension services, nutritious food products, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, and appropriate education, training, and enterprise services.
Over the life of the five-year FED program, expanded market linkages will lead to substantial income and job growth and major increases in the production, processing, marketing, and nutritional utilization of rice, cassava, vegetables, and goats in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi counties. These counties are being targeted in the context of regional development corridors that foster intra- and inter-county commerce, simultaneously improving food availability and access for all Liberians.
FED’s methodology is market-led, value chain-driven, continuously dedicated to indigenous capacity building, and specifically focused on benefiting Liberia’s women and youth. FED’s approach aims to be collaborative, catalytic, and driven by the goals and objectives of our partner clients. It will lead to increases in incomes for rural households, new employment opportunities for Liberians, increased access to food and improved household dietary diversity scores for food-insecure Liberians, and the adoption of improved inputs, farming practices, and technologies which boost agricultural productivity.
FED is implemented by seven partners including: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Samaritan’s Purse, Louisiana University, The Cadmus Group, and the Center for Development and Population Activities.
In September, FED kicked off its annual workplanning process. A number of meetings with FED’s county offices, MoA, USAID, the private sector, and other FED partners were held to solicit feedback and begin to develop a programmatic road map for year 2. A meeting with over 60 FED partners took place on September 11, 2012 at the Corina Hotel in Mornvia. Presentations on all of FED’s components were made and break out groups focusing on each of the 4 value chains convened. Feedback from the all-day workplanning session was incorporated into FED’s draft year 2 workplan which was submitted to USAID. FED plans to finalize the year 2 workplan in the next week.
Activities are underway in Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Lofa counties. This includes the monitoring of vegetables production demonstration sites at 13 locations in Margibi and Montserrado counties. Harvesting of selected crops also began in Montserrado and Margibi Counties at Kpor, Whorn, Air Town, and Yarnquelleh demonstration sites. Crops harvested include collard greens, onions, peppers, and okra. In addition, 200kg of corn seed was distributed to the 13 groups for direct planting after the current rainy season vegetable harvest.
In Nimba County, Doumpa Agriculture Project continues the weekly harvest of vegetables (bitter balls, eggplants, and cabbage) and received US$ 210.21 for September sales. Monitoring and field maintenance continue at the rice and cassava demonstration sites. Field monitoring, trainings and supervision continue at the rice and cassava demonstration sites in Lofa, Bong, and Grand Bassa Counties.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Land O’Lakes, and FED hosted a one-day National Livestock Consultative workshop on September 6, 2012, at the Corina Hotel, Sinkor, Monrovia. International partners at the event included USAID, European Union, BRAC Liberia, Samaritan Purse, FAO, CARE-Liberia, Vets without Border, German Agro Action, and IFAD among others. The objective of the technical meeting was to identify donor-funded interventions currently under implementation in the livestock sector and facilitate relationship building among participating organizations.
Treadle pump manufacturing training was conducted by FED’s Metalwork Technician in Voinjama, with two enterprises – Mdama Garage and the Sesay Metalwork Shop and manufacturing of forced-air vegetable dryers was also conducted at the Old Folk Workshop in Monrovia. These enterprises/metalwork shops will serve as producers of the new equipment and technologies that have been introduced by FED on the Liberian market for interested farmers.
Under the guidance of Peri-Urban Agriculture Specialist, Dermot Cassidy, work began in establishing a demonstration plot at the MoA training site in Kakata. This involved using a portion of land that is severely degraded and has severe soil losses due to sheet erosion.
A six-week follow-up mentorship on the Business Plan Development Workshop was completed with participants in collaboration with FED Consultant, Agatha Johnson. Fourteen SMEs from the mentorship workshop have now submitted their business plan to FED. The 14 submitted business plans are currently under review by the ED team for possible assistance utilizing the MDF. The business plan was submitted by a group head by a female, and 13 male headed groups.
A local service provider Subah Belleh has been hired to complete the profiling of approximately 900 – 1,000 stakeholders surveyed across six FED counties. The survey will start the second week in October. FED launched ten-day training to transition management of FED’s internal mobile data collection to the M&E/GIS coordinator. Three interns, including two women, have been included in the training to build their skill sets in project management and technology in agriculture. Training components include project management, budget development, training of enumerators, electronic form design, data monitoring, technology platforms, and global resources. The training is being conducted by the FED ICT specialist MTTA, and includes presentations by Grameen Foundation, Episurveyor, and USAID LAUNCH.