Liberia: Nutrition project to be scaled up

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund has approved an additional $10 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to implement activities and scale up the impact of the Smallholder Agriculture Development for Food and Nutrition Security project in Liberia.

The project aims to improve food and nutrition security and reduce poverty of targeted rural populations in Liberia by increasing agricultural production and productivity of smallholder farmers (with a focus on food crops such as rice, cassava, and vegetables), improve smallholders’ value addition, market access, and income and strengthen the capacity of government institutions, farmers, and producer organizations.

Liberia has been affected by increases in the prices of imported agricultural inputs. Rising energy costs, and the continued fallout from the multiple shocks have also destabilized the fertilizer sector.

The hike in fertilizer prices is causing food prices to escalate, making it mandatory for food import-dependent countries, such as Liberia, to maximize efforts to boost local food production  to avert the impact on food and nutrition security.

The first financing for the project was approved in June 2021. The original project outcomes are to increase productivity of rice and cassava to 3.5 Mt/ha and 25Mt/ha respectively.  

The additional funding will target around 18,260 households in addition to the existing 11,740 households and 15,000 students for the home-grown school feeding activities program.

This project will also strengthen sustainable crop production and intensification by producing breeder seeds, foundation, and certified seeds for farmers cultivating 7,000 ha of land; support value addition and linking farmers and processors to markets through the establishment of six post-harvest facilities for primary processing of cassava and rice with the help of four aggregation centres located near the processing centers.

Other expected outputs from the project include strengthening participatory farmer advisory services, supporting national food safety and security, and strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture in investment planning and implementation.

The total project cost is estimated at $19.08 million, with $18.2 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), $ 429,027 from the African Development Fund and $453,000 from the Liberian government.

The proposed project is anchored on government priorities to improve food security and strengthen livelihood, agricultural transformation, and economic prosperity for all.

African Press Organization