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.
USAID FED’s thrust to expand market linkages over the five year span of the project 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.
FED is off to a good start in FY15, with several milestones achieved in the first quarter and several targets met or exceeded. By the end of Q1 FY15, USAID FED exceeded rice farmer recruitment target by 45%. A total of 12,113 (6,869 male, 5,244 female) lowland rice beneficiaries against a target of 7,175 have signed up for the program.
During the reporting period, USAID FED-supported rice processor, FABRAR Liberia, delivered 90 MT of milled rice to the World Food Program (WFP) valued at US$63,000. WFP will distribute the rice to Ebola affected regions in Liberia as part of the organization’s emergency response to the Ebola crisis. Farbar sourced the paddy rice for this delivery to WFP from USAID FED-supported farmers. In December, FABRAR procured an additional 150 MT of paddy rice valued at US$55,500 from FED-supported farmers.
The preliminary results of the scaled up Urea Deep Placement (UDP) field trials in FY14 support the findings of the pilot UDP trials carried out in FY13, showing UDP technology as a superior technology as compared to a broadcast application of urea. Based on partial harvest results, UDP application produces an average yield of 5.36-5.44MT/ha, urea broadcast application yields 4.23MT/ha and zero fertilization results in 3.77MT/ha. This demonstrates that UDP application results in yields that are 26 to 28% higher than urea broadcast application, and 42 to 44% higher than zero fertilization. Meanwhile, urea broadcast application delivers only 12% higher yield in comparison to zero fertilization.
USAID FED-supported cassava processor, FALAMA, procured 52.5 MT of raw tuber from Bong and Montserrado counties. Of this total, 16.5 MT of raw tubers were sourced from USAID FED supported cassava farmers. FALAMA, in turn, produced 6.5 MT of gari, 1 MT of flour and 1.25 MT of cassava chips, which were sold for a total of US$5,980. FALAMA sold 2 MT of gari to the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), and 2 MT of gari to General Services Agency (GSA) for an Ebola holding center, 1 MT of cassava flour to Paynesville Bakery Association and 1.25 MT of cassava chips to 12 supermarkets.
USAID FED-supported farmers from 21 FY14 clusters reported the sale of 70.74 MT of vegetables worth US$32,817. Additionally, the USAID FED-supported Monrovia Traders Association reported earnings of US$14,732.83 during the quarter for the sale of 7.9 MT of vegetables.
USAID FED signed up 3,666 (2,163 male, 1,503 female) vegetable farmers, representing 97.76% of total target number of farmers to work with in FY15 under the horticulture value chain. Verification and identification of the remaining 84 farmers will take place in January 2015.
During the quarter, USAID FED-supported goat farmers sold 973 goats (688 bucks, 275 does and 10 kids) valued at US$ 60,111 from the FY14 goat production sites.
USAID FED attained its target of identifying 154 Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) in Nimba, Grand Bassa, Bong and Lofa counties. USAID FED will train the CAHWs on veterinary drugs handling, usage and treatment of animals to enhance access to animal health care in the 77 goat sites.
USAID FED reached its Q1 FY15 target identifying a total of 25 clusters and 500 youth (271 male, 229 female) between the ages of 18 to 35 years of age in Montserrado and Margibi counties. The youth are expected to cultivate a combination of high value and local vegetables. In FY15, USAID FED plans to support youth farmers in establishing agribusiness pilots that will focus primarily on peri-urban and urban vegetable production, as well as ancillary support services such as aggregation and trading.
For the first time in Lofa’s history, local farming organizations received Micro Finance Institution (MFI) loans totaling $39,930 from the Liberian Entrepreneurial and Asset Development (LEAD) in collaboration with USAID FED. The USAID FED-supported local farming organizations are expected to invest the loans in agriculture related activities. LEAD is a beneficiary of the USADF $ 237,000 grant.
In Q1 FY15, a total of 103 women entrepreneurs graduated from the USAID FED Leadership and Business Incubation for Women Entrepreneurs Training Program. These women were trained on leadership, effective communication, effective negotiation, public speaking, strategic planning, basic record keeping and basic business registration. The Leadership and Business Incubation program for Women Entrepreneurs aims to address two critical constraints facing women: lower human capital (leadership and business skills) and less access to networks and information.
During the month of December, USAID FED-supported Booker Washington Institute (BWI) harvested fresh okra (304 lbs), watermelon (1,390 lbs.) and cucumber (399 lbs.) from the institutions’ USAID FED-supported vegetable farming enterprise.
USAID FED completed and officially turned over the goat shelter which comprises general housing, maternity and quarantine center to Nimba County Community College (NCCC). This goat shelter is part of USAID FED’s farm development activity which supports NCCC’s National Diploma in Agriculture (NDA) practical sessions, and aims at generating income for the NCCC Center of Excellence in Vocational Agricultural Education.