Liberia—Food and Enterprise Development Program (FED)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2011-2016

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Liberia

Solutions: Economic Growth Health

Half of all Liberians generate their income through agriculture, yet agriculture previously was not seen as a business by the vast majority of Liberian farmers. Using an approach tailored to specific conditions and locations, FED helped Liberia achieve increased food security—in terms of food availability, utilization, and affordability—by building incentive structures that assisted local stakeholders to adopt a commercial approach.

Our market-led and value chain-driven methodology built indigenous capacity, and focused on benefiting Liberia’s women and youth. New market linkages catalyzed income and job growth and increased in the production, processing, marketing, and nutritional utilization of rice, cassava, and vegetables in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi counties, a region targeted as a development corridor that fosters commerce, simultaneously improving food availability and access and dietary diversity.

FED was Africa’s largest project under the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, which promotes a move away from subsistence agriculture and works to increase food security by collaborating with the private sector and key government stakeholders.

Sample Activities

  • Develop and disseminate improved technologies for agricultural productivity and profitability. Expanded and modernized the input supply and extension systems.

  • Improve commercial marketing and food processing.

  • Bolster Liberian organizations that support business and farming.

  • Develop skills of agriculture-related workforce.

  • Launch a Market Development Fund to build Liberian capacity without compromising market development.

Select Results

  • Established value chains for rice, cassava, vegetables, and goats, which did not exist five years ago.

  • Reached more than 100,000 beneficiaries and dramatically increased the number of farmers applying new technologies and the number of hectares under improved technologies.

  • Increased access to finance among rural women, mobilizing US$1.6 million in loans to approximately 12,000 rural women, which were used to start new micro-enterprises and provide for essential family expenses such as health care and school fees.

  • Piloted productivity enhancing technologies, including treadle pumps, tube wells, power-tillers, rice de-hullers, and application of Urea Deep Placement.

  • Developed extension manuals and brochures used by hundreds of farmers.

  • Provided technical training in agriculture best practices for nearly 19,000 farmers.

  • Training led to more than 14,000 farmers applying improved technologies in more than 2,600 hectares.

  • Provided 224 interns with life-changing work experience across 54 Liberian businesses.

  • Engaged more than 1,100 youth through the “Back to the School Garden” initiative to get youth involved in agricultural best practices.

  • Trained 164 women in food processing and preservation skills so they can jumpstart their own businesses.

  • Generated private sector investment of $422,600 in rice seed production, vegetable seedling, and goat shelters.

  • Forty-five percent of FED’s beneficiaries are youth (ages 16 to 35), while 48 percent are women.

  • Assisted development of Liberia’s first National Agriculture Diploma Curriculum, which was tested in key vocational institutions. Nearly 3,000 students and instructors benefited from FED’s assistance, including establishment of demonstration farms, provision of 435 textbooks, and training to improve the quality of instruction.

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