The 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 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
- Workforce development
FED works with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), civil societies and the private sector in providing communities access to agricultural inputs (including improved seeds), extension services, nutritious food products, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, agro-business education, training, and enterprise services.
In five years, FED’s thrust to expand market linkages is expected to lead to substantial increases in income and job opportunities. 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 the counties of Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi. FED focused 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.
FED’s methodology is market-led and value chain-driven; it is committed to develop indigenous capacity building, with specific focus on Liberia’s women and youth.
FED’s approach is collaborative and catalytic. It is driven by the goals and objectives of our partner clients. It aims to increase incomes of rural households and create new employment and livelihood opportunities for Liberians; to improve access to food and household dietary diversity scores of food-insecure Liberians; and to promote the use of improved inputs, better farming practices, and technologies that boost agricultural productivity.
FED is implemented by five partners, namely: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Louisiana State University (LSU), and The Cadmus Group.
Year to date, FED has measured a total of 120 rice harvest samples from 37 sites from FY13 rice sites (Table 1). In addition, FED has measured 17 of the total 20 FY13 Urea Deep Placement (UDP) sites. Preliminary results show that the UDP method of fertilizing produces an average 5.98 MT per hectare, 17% higher yield than the broadcast method (5.11MT/ha) and 30% higher yield than no fertilizer at all (4.62MT/ha).
FED conducted the first FY13 harvest sampling of cassava yields in Grand Bassa county (Table 5). FED sampled a total of nine sites including six demonstration sites and three non-FED sites. The FED demonstration sites, which all used improved varieties of cassava and planted in mounds and ridges reported yields in the range of 13-22 MT/ha. The two Non-FED sites planting local varieties of cassava reported an averaged 6.2 MT/ha.
FED partnered with Liberia Entrepreneurial & Asset Development (LEAD) to sign loan agreements (Table 10) totaling $1,630.000 LD ($20,375 USD) for seven FED farming groups in Montserrado, Margibi and Nimba Counties. Each farming groups decides how to divide the loans amongst the members and will pay back the loans in six months with 16% interest. The loans will be used to procure inputs and expand their vegetable production.
In the period, FED signed a MoU with USAID funded Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) program to provide qualifying FED farmers with record keeping and financial training, in-house business development services, and support for packaging applications for financing from local banks. In addition, the two will provide feedback to beneficiaries and lending institutions to improve relations between Liberia’s agribusiness and financial sectors.
FED also signed a MoU with local rice processing firm Fabrar Liberia to increase the breadth of marketing and sales of Liberian rice through the expansion of Fabrar’s processing capacity from approximately 500 MT to 3,750 MT of locally grown, milled rice each year. This is part of FED’s effort to ensure that the future additional rice production of the FED’s beneficiaries will have a market.
FED has signed a MoU with the Louisiana State University (LSU) to support two students with degrees in Agriculture for post graduate studies in soils and horticulture. The activity is in line with FED’s mandate to build human managerial and technical capacity to support agriculture development. One student, Woiklee Payee will leave in Q2 to pursue a Master’s degree in Soils Science at LSU. He will return after one year to carry out his research work to address issues in soils identified by FED.
FED distributed three press releases in the period covering FED’s rural radio training, the goat value chain’s Community Animal Health Worker training, and the loans given to FED farmers through local micro finance partner LEAD.