Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a foundation for lasting progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.
Over the next five years in Liberia, Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 332,000 vulnerable Liberian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 96,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.
To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Liberia is making core investments in three key areas:
1. Transforming Staples’ Value Chains
2. Developing Income and Diet Diversification Value Chains
The Feed the Future Strategy is focusing on counties with the highest populations, the most farmers, the largest numbers living in poverty, and the greatest potential for agriculture development: Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi. These counties are located along Liberia’s main economic development corridors and collectively include around 75 percent of all Liberian households. Nutrition activities are focused in Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.
FTF interventions will encourage employment of women extension agents in the public sector and ensure that they are well represented in extension-related training activities in the public and private sectors. Women typically have more limited access to seeds, tools, credit, and marketing information than men. Liberia FTF MYS activities will give explicit attention to issues of equity in access in order to increase women‘s access and FTF will also provide support for women to participate in producer/marketing groups and associations.
Through private and public sector extension, USAID will provide lead farmers and producer organizations identified as change agents with specialized skills. Change agents will also receive support to acquire planting material and inputs through public and private sector channels. Availability of improved planting materials is facilitated through investments in CARI, private sector players, and CORAF. USAID will promote suppliers of seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, tools, and livestock by developing their technical knowledge and skills and through support for increased agricultural credit. These entrepreneurs will provide services to others in their respective value chains. Over the five years of the FTF program, both the public and private provision of extension services will reinforce and expand the skill sets of change agents to increase productivity and coordinate with county and local health service providers to extend the reach of nutrition-related behavior change in order both to raise incomes and to improve health outcomes.
Small-scale rice and cassava processors will be a central focus of FTF interventions. Those interventions will help processors to build a supplier base, acquire equipment, access finance, and implement appropriate business practices. It is expected that they will then provide farmers with technical assistance to assure themselves of sufficient supplies of quality commodities to process. The program will work with and support both processors and traders to invest in processing equipment, storage facilities, and transport. It will work with farmers on improving post-harvest handling practices and on producing a consistent and predictable flow of goods. Over the five years, USAID direct beneficiaries will develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes - plus have the capital, equipment, clients, and market linkages - to continue to expand their production, processing, and/or marketing businesses.
Given the paucity of reliable data, a significant initial activity in the primary implementation mechanism for the Liberia FTF MYS – USAID‘s Food and Enterprise Development program - will be directed to a series of baseline surveys to collect production, labor, and market information and to facilitate MOA data collection and analysis, especially related to the focus counties. Based on the prioritized constraints that are identified, targeted and sequenced support will be directed to specific steps on the value chain, including to:
Nutritional benefits will accrue from both increased availability of and access to Liberia‘s primary food staples (rice and cassava). Increased commercialization will provide smallholders the increased incomes needed to obtain more and better food and improved processing will promote fortification to enhance the nutritional value of cassava and to improve the quality of rice. Public and private extension change agents will be trained to engage farmers, communities and farmer organizations across the range of behavioral change needed to promote essential nutrition actions.
The Feed the Future MYS and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) activities will have the following four overarching objectives:
The FTF M&E system is designed flexibly to take into account the systems and indicators being implemented by aligned USG activities, as well as those which the GOL is developing under LASIP reflecting the Government‘s CAADP commitments. The Mission‘s newly-awarded M&E program will facilitate the coordination and collaboration work to build the FTF M&E system with appropriate linkages reflecting WOG activities that impact on the FTF Results Framework.
Collecting, managing, and reporting data to track indicators is a critical component of Liberia‘s FTF M&E activities. There are three basic levels at which data will be collected: at the national, target-county, and project-levels; the latter two being the zones of influence‘ of Liberia‘s FTF program. In general, national-level data will be collected every five or every two years, depending on data source. Typically, target-county level data will be collected every two years or mid-way through the FTF program, depending on data source. Project-level data will be collected annually. Given that much of the data will be for agriculture, data collection will reflect systems, which span growing seasons across more than a single year. The centrally-funded M&E contractor, recently awarded by the Mission, will work with USAID Implementing Partners (IP), GOL, and other entities as appropriate in data collection, management, and reporting as well as in conducting baselines. These will be collective efforts reflecting the importance of data collection and baselines not only for USG priorities but also to partners and other stakeholders in the private sector and GOL.
Ensuring baseline data are available to measure changes resulting from FTF interventions and to contextually monitor the situation in Liberia is essential to the FTF program. For the eight higher-level indicators, USAID/Liberia will coordinate with the centrally-funded contractor to confirm available national-level baseline data for the poverty and agriculture sector GDP indicators. The centrally-funded contractor will lead efforts to obtain baseline data on per capita income at the target county level. Reliable data on underweight, stunted, and wasted children, as well as on underweight women, are available from Liberia‘s Comprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Survey (CFSNS), a bi-annual survey endorsed and led by GOL with World Food Program oversight. These baseline data are given in Annex C. As the indicator on women‘s empowerment is being developed, USAID/Liberia will address baseline needs for it as further information on requirements becomes available.
There are an additional six indicators which require baselines to measure project-level activity. In collaboration with the MOA, USAID/Liberia IPs will lead baseline data collection on crop and animal production improvements (indicators 9 and 10 in the results framework), on the value of incremental sales (indicator 16 in the results framework), and on the application of improved technologies and practices by individuals and organizations receiving USG assistance (indicators 13 and 15 in the results framework).
Prior to initiation of FTF MYS activities under the FED program, the Mission will initiate a pre- and post-impact evaluation process to articulate the relevant analytical framework for evaluating program impact in the target counties. Current expectations are to utilize a quasi-experimental design for the impact evaluation. However, a final determination has not been made and plans are to further discuss with the Mission‘s M&E program and others. In addition, Liberia is a non-presence, monitored member of the West Africa regional Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET). The FTF M&E activities will utilize these data on food prices, regional trade flows, market development in data frameworks for on-going assessment and monitoring of both impacts and risks.
Currently, Liberia‘s capacity to collect, process, and report data is extremely weak. While USAID/Liberia identified some sources of reliable data, notably that reported in the 2010 CFSNS, there is a paucity of agricultural and trade data available. To address this, USAID will work closely with GOL to build Liberian capacity in this area. The GOL has the primary responsibility to collect poverty, rural and agricultural statistics but the FTF M&E system will support and strengthen the GOL‘s activity in cooperation with other development partners. It will also strengthen the MOA‘s Food Security and Nutrition Unit and the Agriculture Coordination Committee to build compatible and consistent M&E systems for food security related activities. The FTF M&E system will support the capacity of critical national institutions especially the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo Information Services (LISGIS) and the MOA to improve the reliability, timeliness, and relevance of data for which they are responsible. It will strengthen these institutions to setup management information systems to inform high-level decision-making and will encourage the involvement of these critical institutions in oversight of FTF activities using the M&E system as the focal point. Furthermore, it will carry these activities to the county level and in particular will emphasize MOA M&E capacity in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, and Grand Bassa counties.
Gross margin per unit of land or animal of selected product (crop/animal varies by country);Percent increases in crop yields; Number of individuals who have received USG supported short-term ag sector productivity or food security training;Number of new additional ha under improved technologies or management practices as a result of USG assistance; Number of farmers and others who have applied new technologies or management practices as a result of USG assistance; Number of private enterprises; producer orgs; water users, trade, business associations; & CBOs receiving USG assistance; Number of private enterprises; producer orgs; water users, trade, business associations; & CBOs that applied new technologies or management practices as a result of USG assistance; Value of incremental sales (collected at farm-level) attributed to FTF implementation; Kilometers of roads improved or constructed; Value of agricultural and rural loans; Value of new private sector investment in the ag sector or food chain leveraged by FTF implementation; Number new laws and policies implemented to support private enterprise growth; Number of jobs attributed to FTF implementation; Prevalence of households with moderate or severe hunger; Prevalence of children 6-23 months receiving a minimum acceptable diet; Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding of children under six months of age; Prevalence of anemia among women of reproductive age
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