The United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development (USAID FED) in Liberia says it has helped increase market relations and profits by US$500 a month for vegetable farmers.
Making the disclosure to the Liberia News Agency via mobile phone on Tuesday, USAID FED Chief of Party Lee Rosner said beneficiaries include group members of the Liberian vegetable framers who are covered by the FED program. He revealed that by the end of 2016, the program will have an estimated 35 farming groups consisting of more than 700 farmers that will benefit from high-value vegetable market linkages. Rosner named some of the partners who have made major contributions in boosting the profits of the Liberian vegetable farmers as the Royal Grand Hotel, Commercial Vegetables Distributors and Supermarkets, among others. The USAID FED Country Director noted that Royal Grand Hotel is making a monthly purchase of high-value vegetables through an agreement facilitated by USAID Fed, resulting to an increase in farmers’ incomes. He pointed out that with more stable and relatively high-price buyers, the farmers’ income is growing and their lives are changing, noting that “they are now able to at least send their children to school, feed their families as well as take care of their needs.” Rosner indicated that with the increase in profits, farming groups have been able to expand production area from one to two or more hectares which has further increased production. He also revealed that since the beginning of 2016, the USAID FED “Feed the Future” program, which in partnership with Brussels Airlines, has shipped samples of okra varieties and is willing to explore possibilities to support cashew nuts production in Liberia. Rosner said additional market linkages facilitated by USAID will encourage other farming groups in both Montserrado and Margibi Counties to scale-up high-value vegetable production which will significantly increase their income. USAID FED is a “Feed the Future” initiative of the American Government with a US$75 million project implementation plan for a five-year period in Liberia. The project has for the past four years worked with over 80,000 farmers in four food value chains: rice, vegetables, cassava and goat rearing in six counties in Liberia. The program which was expected to close in September this year has been extended to December.