Liberia is located in West Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean between Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone. The country’s total land area is 111,369 sq km, and is comparatively slightly smaller than Honduras, or about the size of the state of Tennessee in the U.S. Its climate is tropical with dry winters and wet summers. Of the total land area, only three percent is utilized for cultivated crops, while another two percent supports permanent crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees. Environmental issues facing Liberia include tropical rain forest deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and pollution of coastal waters. The country’s population is approximately 3.4 million, with 70 percent of the country’s labor force dedicated to agriculture. Liberia has the highest ratio of direct foreign investment to GDP in the world. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia is a strong producer and exporter of basic products such as raw timber and rubber. Liberia’s agricultural products include rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava, palm oil, sugarcane and bananas. The North and West Africa Division is responsible for IFDC activities in Liberia.
Current IFDC Projects in Liberia
- Marketing Inputs Regionally (MIR Plus), 2009-2013
MIR Plus is improving policy and regulatory environments in the 15 nations of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS). The project is increasing the use and efficiency of agro-inputs, improving the availability of technical and market information and using technology to link producers’ organizations with agro-dealers. The project links 2.23 million farmers to agro-dealers who will help train and supply the farmers. The project should increase maize and rain-fed rice yields by 20 percent for targeted farmers in Ghana and Nigeria, and increase irrigated rice yields in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone by 20 percent.
DONORS: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS)
- USAID Liberian Food and Enterprise Development (FED), 2011-2016
IFDC is leading a short-term technical assistance (STTA) component to recruit and train agro-dealers and develop extension materials to promote integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) in cassava cultivation in Liberia. The broader project objectives are to improve nutrition and food security by increasing agricultural productivity and market access and building human capacity. FED is developing cassava value chains comprised of smallholder farmers, microfinance institutions and procurement, production and market links. IFDC has recruited and is training agro-dealers, trade associations and trainers who, in turn, are transferring knowledge to smallholder farmers. IFDC is also helping the farmers and agro-dealers form associations and facilitating connections to credit opportunities and service providers. DAI is the project's lead implementing organization.
DONORS: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- USAID West Africa Fertilizer Program (USAID WAFP), 2012-2017
USAID WAFP is working to increase food security and reduce poverty and hunger in West Africa by reducing the cost of fertilizer and increasing its use, reducing the distance between the farm gate and agro-dealers and increasing the efficiency of fertilizer use through accurate fertilizer recommendations. While the program has a regional focus, country-specific interventions are being implemented in Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Senegal. Activities are targeting 1,600 agro-dealers, who will provide an estimated 30,000 farmers with access to new agricultural technologies.
DONORS: U.S. Agency for International Development’s West Africa mission (USAID/WA)
Recent IFDC Projects in Liberia
- Marketing Inputs Regionally (MIR), 2002-2008
The MIR project increased the affordability and accessibility of quality inputs for targeted smallholders in West Africa, and provided technical support and training for farmers and dealers. MIR developed regional and national regulatory frameworks, supported the advancement of farmer and agro-dealer associations, facilitated dialogue along the value chain and implemented sustainable development of the cotton agro-input sub-sector.
DONOR: The Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS)
MIR Plus (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 36, No. 2)