FAO GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

SPECIAL REPORT

FAO/WFP CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO LIBERIA


MISSION HIGHLIGHTS

  • The 2000 rice production (milled) is estimated at 94 000 tonnes which is 55 percent of pre-war (1988) production.

  • Liberia's cereal import requirement, mostly rice, in 2001 is estimated at 200 000 tonnes, of which 160 000 tonnes are anticipated to be imported commercially, leaving a gap of 40 000 tonnes, which needs to be covered by food aid.

  • WFP is seeking a total of 21 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses and 3 800 tonnes of other commodities to meet the food needs of 285 000 vulnerable people, including refugees, IDPs and primary school children for 2001.

  • Cassava production and consumption have increased over the years due to effects of war. After accounting for losses, the Mission estimates that some 480 000 tonnes of cassava will be available for consumption in 2001, compared to 308 000 tonnes in 1988. This is expected to reduce somewhat the cereal import requirement.

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1. OVERVIEW

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Liberia from 24 November to 11 December 2000, to estimate food production levels for 2000 and to assess the overall food supply and demand situation for 2001. The FAO/WFP team was assisted by a senior official from the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture, while the country offices of FAO and WFP provided logistical support.

In Monrovia, the Mission held discussions with officials of the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Health and Planning, as well as with UN agencies, major donors and major NGOs. Relevant reports and data were collected, the results of recent food security assessment surveys carried out by NGOs being particularly useful. There is no current data available from the Government on agricultural production or population.

Over a period of two weeks, the Mission travelled to nine of the country's 13 counties, with Lofa being excluded for security reasons, while Grand Gedeh, Maryland and Grand Kru could not be visited due to impassable roads and time constraints. The Mission interviewed farmers and other key informants in all the areas visited, accompanied by local officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and representatives of NGOs and staff of bilateral projects in those areas.

The Liberian crisis ended with elections in July 1997, which encouraged the approximately 1 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to start returning to their communities. The population of Monrovia and other urban centres has since fallen, while the rural population has increased. The lack of employment opportunities during and after the war has compelled many families to grow some rice for the first time, in order to survive. It has also caused cultivation of land which had never previously been considered for rice production, such as the coastal mangrove swamps. As a result, there are many more families in rice production than in pre-war times, albeit with smaller plots.

However, in spite of this, rice production levels are still low, compared to pre-war. The Mission estimated the 2000 rice paddy production at 144 000 tonnes, compared with the pre-war (1988) figure of 259 000 tonnes. The area planted to rice in the year 2000 is estimated at 135 000 hectares, suggesting an average yield of 1.1 tonnes/hectare. Small plots and poor yields would appear to be the main cause of low production per household. As the economy improves, the demand for rice can be expected to increase, although it is more likely to be met from imports than from local production, because of marketing difficulties and other constraints.

Eating habits have changed dramatically since the war in favour of cassava, whose area and production have increased substantially. The Mission estimated that, taking into account possible losses, some 480 000 tonnes of cassava will be available for consumption in 2001, compared with 308 000 tonnes in 1988. Plantains are also said to be more important than before.

With rice production (milled) estimated at 94 000 tonnes and requirements at 294 000 tonnes (approximately 80 percent rice, 17 percent wheat and 3 percent maize), Liberia's cereal import requirement in 2001 is estimated at 200 000 tonnes. Commercial imports are estimated at 160 000 tonnes, leaving an uncovered deficit of 40 000 tonnes to be met by food aid1.

WFP is seeking a total of 21 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses and 3 800 tonnes of other commodities to meet the food aid needs of about 145 000 refugees and other war affected people, as well as 140 000 children attending primary schools during the year 2001

The main constraints faced by farmers include labour shortages, shortage of rice seed, lack of any marketing organization, high levels of post-harvest losses and poor road conditions. Large scale distribution of seeds and tools has stopped and agricultural extension activities by NGOs are focusing on rice seed multiplication, post-harvest loss reduction and coffee and cocoa rehabilitation. Periodic rebel incursions since August 1999 have disrupted farming in Lofa county, one of Liberia's main rice producing areas.

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2. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SITUATION

Liberia's economy was devastated by seven years of civil war from which it is trying to recover. Since the election of the new government in July 1997, the economy has been growing at about 20 percent per annum over the last three years, with low inflation. However, the impressive growth rate is yet to have an impact on the plight of Liberians as unemployment in the formal sector is estimated at 80 percent while the number of people living below the poverty line is also estimated at 80 percent. GDP is currently estimated at US$480 million, less than 50 percent of the pre-war (1988) level of US$1 billion. Export earnings, mainly from rubber, timber, cocoa and coffee, amounted to US$56 million in 1999 compared to US$443 million in 1988.

The physical and social infrastructure remains poor. The rail network that provided the link between the coastal area and the iron ore mining areas of Nimba, Bong and Cape Mount Counties in the hinterland is not operational. The road system is in disrepair apart from the tarmac roads (only 6.2 percent of the 10 00km network) linking Monrovia with the key county towns of Buchanan (Grand Bassa), Ganta (Nimba), Gbanga (Bong) and Tubmanburg (Grand Cape Mount). Most productive counties are inaccessible, especially during the rainy season.

Agriculture and forestry contribute over 90 percent of export earnings, mainly from rubber, timber, cocoa and coffee. Rehabilitation of rubber plantations is reported to be up to 30 percent of pre-war, while logging companies are busy investing in the infrastructure of the ports and upgrading roads and bridges to the interior. Iron ore mines which before the war provided 47 percent of export earnings and were a major source of employment for rural populations remain inoperational.

Wages for unskilled and skilled workers are rarely above US$2.00 per day and a 50 kg bag of rice in Monrovia costs around US$28. Civil servants are paid very little and at the time of the visit most had been 6 months without pay. High malnutrition rates are reported, particularly in Monrovia.

People in rural areas are generally in a better situation than urban dwellers because of subsistence production of rice and other crops such as cassava and plantains, supplemented by hunting and gathering wild foods. Rice consumption requirement for an average family is 600-800 kg per annum while production is estimated at 500-600 kg per farming household. As there is little or no surplus, urban dwellers depend mostly on imported rice.

In Liberia, most of the people are vulnerable in one way or another. The degree of vulnerability is related to lack of sufficient food, healthcare and shelter. UN agencies and NGOs are doing their best to reduce the impact of these factors. WFP, through its "Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) - West Africa Coastal 6271", is in the process of implementing a sub-regional project to cover Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In Liberia, an estimated 145 000 people will benefit from this programme.

According to UNHCR, the number of Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia is estimated at 91 000. The mission visited Sinje Camp, in Grand Cape Mount, where about 15 000 refugees are receiving food aid from WFP. Between 17 May 1997 and 4 September 2000, a total of 376 500 Liberians out of an estimated 480 000 who were refugees in neighbouring countries returned home.

In July 2000, a group of Liberian dissidents attacked the town of Voijama, the capital of Lofa county and displaced thousands of people. A recent assessment by the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) and the Liberian Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), estimated that there are about 7 270 internally displaced persons in Zorzor and Salayea districts in Upper Lofa county.

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3. FOOD PRODUCTION

3.1 Method used to estimate production

No official data on crop areas or production has been collected since the war started in 1989 and most of the previous records have been lost, with the exception of one of the last MoA reports before the war, entitled "Production Estimates of Major Crops, 1988-June 1989". However, several useful reports were available from NGOs, and during field trips to 9 of the 13 counties, the Mission was able to interview farmers and local officials as well as observing crops in the field.

In the absence of data, previous Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions used seed distribution figures available from NGOs as a guide to planted areas and production, but seed distribution has virtually stopped since 1999, so another method had to be devised. The Mission found that most farmers were able to say, without hesitation, how many bundles of rice they had harvested and this suggested that the results of NGO surveys which gave harvested quantities of rice per household could be a way to estimate rice production.

However, cassava production is more difficult to estimate as the crop is harvested intermittently at all times of the year and, unlike rice, it is difficult for a farmer to remember how much he/she has harvested. None of the NGO surveys had estimated cassava production. The pre-war MoA report mentioned was useful in estimating production, from yield data and the proportion of cassava area to that of rice per household, which was applied to current estimates of farming households. Table 1 shows estimated number of households by county for 2000.

Table 1: Rural Population and Number of Farming Households in 2000

County
1/Estimated Population
2/Rural Population in Farming
3/Average Family Size
Number of Farming Households in 2000
Grand Bassa
220 937
167 912
6
27 985
Bomi
117 288
100 281
6
16 714
Bong
307 620
233 791
6
38 965
Grd. Cape Mount
123 265
105 392
6
17 565
Grand Gedeh
96 954
73 685
6
12 281
Grand Kru
40 078
22 844
6
3 807
Lofa
360 631
274 080
6
45 680
Maryland
73 869
49 123
6
8 187
Margibi
225 122
128 320
6
21 387
Montserrado
843 783
80 159
6
13 360
Nimba
347 698
297 282
6
49 547
River Cess
39 159
22 321
6
3 720
Sinoe
81 301
69 512
6
11 585
TOTAL
2 877 705
1 624 702
6
270 784


Sources:
1/ 1999 estimates by UN-HACO, plus 2.6 percent to cover population growth and returning refugees for 2000 (Ministry of Planning).
2/ Rural population less urban population figures.
3/ NGO Food Security Assessment Surveys - Range (5-7)

3.2 Rice Production Estimates

Several NGOs have recently carried out field surveys of rice harvests per household in selected areas. Based on their estimates, the Mission was able to make reasonable assumptions for the level of rice production in the year 2000. The Mission has assumed an average rice production of 500 kg per household in 2000 for all counties except for the two most productive counties, Nimba and Bong with 600 kg. Rice production by the 270 784 families engaged in rice production in the year 2000 has, thus, been estimated at 144 243 tonnes, as shown below in Table 2.

Table 2: Estimated Production of Rice in 2000

County 1/ Number of Households Growing Rice 2/ Production Per Household (kg) Total Rice Production (tonnes)
Grand Bassa 27 985 500 13 993
Bomi 16 714 500 8 357
Bong 38 965 600 23 379
Grand Cape Mount 17 565 500 8 783
Grand Gedeh 12 281 500 6 141
Grand Kru 3 807 500 1 904
Lofa 45 680 500 22 840
Maryland 8 187 500 4 094
Margibi 21 387 500 10 694
Montserrado 13 360 500 6 680
Nimba 49 547 600 29 728
River Cess 3 720 500 1 860
Sinoe 11 585 500 5 793
TOTAL 270 784   144 243

Notes: 1/ See Table 1.
2/ NGO Food Security Assessments and Baseline surveys.

3.3 Cassava Production Estimates

Surveys by NGOs did not record levels of cassava production per family. The Mission therefore estimated 2000 cassava production on the basis of pre-war figures, increased by 10 percent to reflect the effect of improved varieties on yields, as well as local opinion that more farmers are planting cassava than in pre-war times. The number of households growing cassava was estimated at 95 percent of those growing rice, based on the proportions in the 1988 Ministry of Agriculture report. Total cassava production for the year 2000 by 257 246 households has been estimated at 639 057 tonnes (Table 3).

Table 3: Estimated Production of Cassava in 2000 (tonnes)

County
1/
Number of Households Growing Cassava
2/
Production per Household
(tonnes)

Total Cassava Production
(tonnes)
Grand Bassa
26 586
2.53
67 262
Bomi
15 878
2.35
37 313
Bong
37 017
1.25
46 271
Grand Cape Mount
16 687
4.94
82 434
Grand Gedeh
11 667
3.54
41 301
Grand Kru
3 617
4.72
17 072
Lofa
43 396
1.17
50 773
Maryland
7 778
3.26
25 356
Margibi
20 318
2.19
44 496
Montserrado
12 692
3.16
40 107
Nimba
47 070
3.02
142 151
River Cess
3 534
2.23
7 881
Sinoe
11 006
3.37
37 090
TOTAL
257 246
 
639 507


Sources:
1/ 95 percent of figures for rice producing households given in Table 2.
2/ Pre-war production increased by 10 percent .

3.4 Crop Planted Areas and Yields

3.4.1 Rice Planted Area

As mentioned above there has been no official data for cropped areas since before the war (1988), when the rice area was recorded as 235 662 hectares and the cassava area as 52 136 hectares. Planted areas of rice per farm in 2000 are still thought to be considerably lower than pre-war, due to labour and seed shortages. Many families consist largely of old people and young children because the men and women of working age are away, either prospecting for diamonds and gold or trying to catch up with their education which was disrupted during the war. There are reports that farmers often cleared more land than they were able to plant.

Action Contre le Faim (ACF) food assessment surveys carried out in Grand Bassa and River Cess, give an average area of 0.6 hectares per farm planted with rice in 1999. The baseline survey of 964 rice growing households in Bong County, by World Vision International (WVI) in 2000, recorded an average seed use of 2.5 tins per family (30 kg), enough to plant about 0.5 hectares of rice. Save the Children Fund (SCF) survey of Bong County in 1999 reported similar results. The area planted to rice in 2000 has, therefore, been estimated by multiplying average rice area per household (0.5 hectares) by the number of households growing rice (270 784), yielding a total of 135 392 hectares.

The area under rice in 2000 is just over half of pre-war although the number of households growing rice (nearly 271 000) is much higher than pre-war (181 030 in 1988). This is not surprising because the lack of employment opportunities has forced many families into rice production for the first time, in order to survive. The Mission visited a number of farms where rice was being grown by ex-employees of the iron ore mines on land previously used as pond areas by the mines. Many rice fields have also been established on reclaimed land previously under mangrove swamps, especially around Monrovia itself.

3.4.2 Rice Yields

From the estimates of production and planted areas for 2000, the average rice yield, for both upland and lowland areas, works out at 1.07 tonnes/hectare. ACF food assessment surveys recorded yields of around 0.75 tonnes/hectare in Bong and River Cess counties.

3.4.3 Cassava Planted Area

The consumption of cassava has increased tremendously and the area under cultivation is reported to be increasing rapidly, being currently estimated at the pre-war average of 0.1 hectares per family. The planted area of cassava in the year 2000 has therefore been estimated by multiplying average cassava area per household (0.1 hectare) by the number of households growing cassava (257 246). This yields a total of 25 725 hectares for 2000.

3.4.4 Cassava Yields

Pre-war cassava yields averaged around 7 tonnes/hectare but are thought to be increasing with the introduction of improved varieties. Vast quantities of cuttings of these varieties (imported from neighbouring countries) were distributed to farmers by NGOs during and after the war. The yield potential of these varieties is said to be 10-15 tonnes/hectare fresh weight.

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4. COUNTY SITUATION SUMMARIES

4.1 Grand Bassa

Located in the south eastern part of the country, Grand Bassa has an estimated population of 220 000 people. The coastal capital town of Buchanan is the second largest town and port in Liberia. It is estimated that 65-70 percent of the internally displaced people have returned to the county. The southern part of the county depends mainly on fishing, coconut farming and oil palm extraction, while most of the production of rice, cassava, plantain and other products takes place in the northern part bordering Nimba and River Cess counties. The major constraint to agricultural production is the poor state of roads which make the most productive areas in the north inaccessible. The rail road that connected the town to the iron ore mine in the north of Nimba county is not in use. The CRS is supporting agriculture through Parent/Teacher Associations (PTA). Other efforts to support farmer groups have not been successful as the culture of group farming is not strong among the communities. Most people still hope to one day find jobs in the urban area. Consequently, the level of dependency is very high. The food supply situation has improved somewhat with donor efforts (mainly through the CRS) now shifted to supporting education (through school feeding and teacher training) and vulnerable groups.

4.2 Bomi

Bomi county is bordered by Montesserrado in the east, Lofa in the north and Grand Cape Mount in the west. It has an estimated population of 120 337, the majority of whom are engaged in agriculture (about 65-70 percent), alluvial gold and diamond mining (20 percent) and services (10-15 percent). The iron ore industry collapsed following destruction and looting during the war. The rubber plantations are yet to be rehabilitated although they are a significant source of income for many people who have rented them for tapping the rubber for sell. An NGO, the Lutheran World Service (LWS) is supporting a number of programmes including support to schools, production of rice in the lowlands, provision of seedlings for tree crops planting programmes (especially for cocoa and coffee), construction of bridges and provision of water. A 10 acre lowland farm is operational producing improved seed rice varieties for distribution to community groups. Other NGOs (such as Concern Worldwide, Liberian Red Cross, Action Aid and IINOPS) are also involved in various non-agricultural activities such as water and sanitation, and adult literacy campaigns. Dowein district has become a major charcoal producing area in the county. Fishing is also a major activity in addition to the production of rice and cassava. In genera the food security situation has gradually improved since 1997 and food products (especially rice, cassava and vegetables) are available in markets.

4.3 Bong

Bong is one of the top three agricultural counties in Liberia ( the other two being Lofa and Nimba). Bong has had three consecutive years of relative peace, which allowed farmers to plant and harvest their crops uninterrupted. A private firm has established a mixed farm of 2 780 acres and is producing lowland (100 acres) and upland (1 200 acres) rice, vegetables, fish and livestock, thus providing the much needed employment to people in the surrounding area. The tailing pond of the now defunct Bong mining company has been converted into a rice growing area proving about 1 000 acres to 750 farmers, most of whom are the former employees of the mining company. Seed rice production has resumed through a bilateral arrangement with Taiwan. Donor assistance to farming communities in lowland rice production, provision of seedlings for replacing the ageing cocoa and coffee plants, water and sanitation, as well as food aid, is helping the county recover from the impact of the war.

4.4 Grand Cape Mount

Grand Cape Mount has an estimated population of 126 470 people. The capital is the coastal town of Robertsport and it hosts 15 267 refugees in Sinje camp close to the Sierra Leone border. Robertsport was mainly a recreational and fishing coastal town with limited agricultural production potential. Fishing remains the major source of income. The pre-war population of the town was about 8 000-10 000 people. Currently, the population is about 4 000- 6 000. Poultry production is important but it is constrained by disease (Newcastle), lack of feed and improved breeds. The county is not as productive as, say, Nimba, Lofa or Bong. However, donor assistance in the agricultural sector through World Vision and other NGOs is supporting a number of farming communities mainly in the production of improved planting materials for rice, cassava and plantains. Around Madina township, 33 groups are being supported (7 groups focusing on plantains, 11 on rice and 15 on cassava multiplication and production).

4.5 Grand Gedeh, Maryland and Grand Kru

The three counties located in the south-eastern part of Liberia were not visited by the mission due to time constraints and the poor conditions of the roads. They have a total population of 210 901 people (Grand Gedeh, 96 954; Maryland, 73 869; and Grand Kru, 40 078), most of whom are engaged in agriculture. Agricultural production in the region is not as high as in the north eastern part of Liberia due to a number of factors, including inaccessibility and relatively poor soils. Rice and cassava production are the dominant activity. Production of coffee and cocoa is also important but constrained by the poor road network and lack of an organised system of marketing. Fishing and mining of gold and diamonds are also important in the area. The mission was informed that there is substantial trade across the border with Côte d'Ivoire, involving importation of rice and other food commodities into the region, and exporting commodities such as cocoa, coffee and fish across the border.

4.6 Lofa

This is the largest and one of the most productive counties in Liberia. However, it is also the county that has been most affected by rebel incursions. The county shares a border with Guinea, which hosts a large number of Liberian refugees. There have been three rebel incursions in the last two years, the latest having been in October this year. Production is estimated to have been higher than last year despite the rebel incursions. Most people have been able to return to their farms and harvest crops. However, the donor agencies had moved away from operating in the northern part of the county, having suffered substantial losses through looting of their stores and disruption of their programmes.

4.7 Margibi

The county has had sustained peace for the last several cropping seasons allowing farmers to plant and harvest their crops. Kakata, the capital town, is estimated to have a population of 45 000 people who are engaged in agricultural activities that include rice and cassava production. Robertsfield International Airport is also located in Margibi.

Prior to the war, a substantial proportion of the population was engaged in the rubber industry. This has resumed providing the much needed employment to the population. Firestone Rubber Company, the largest in the country, has its headquarters in the county. The company is allowed to import about 5 000 tons of rice for its employees who receive about 1bag of rice per family a month at subsidised prices.

International donor assistance is provided to the population through CRS, which is supporting about 14 farmer groups in the areas of lowland rice and vegetable production and aquaculture. Some households own small production units of cocoa, coffee and rubber. A food security assessment revealed that poor households are able to meet 90 percent of their food requirements from their own harvests (45 percent), purchases (25 percent), sale of oil palm (10 percent), contract labour (6 percent) and collection of wild foodstuffs including hunting and gathering (5 percent).

4.8 Montserrado County

The population of this county is estimated at 843 800 inhabitants in year 2000. It is the most populated county with Monrovia hosting more than 75 percent of the total population. Although there are many economic activities in the county they are not sufficient to significantly reduce unemployment. Around Monrovia, some households grow rice and vegetables to feed themselves. Malnutrition is very high as many households cannot afford to meet their daily food requirements.

4.9 Nimba County

This is one of the most populated and productive counties in Liberia with a population of 356 738 people. The relative peace experienced over the last three years was partially disrupted in late November 2000 with reported rebel incursions in the north of the county. However, the situation was quickly brought under control and by the time the mission left the country, there were indications that it would have no significant impact on agricultural production in the current season. There were several lowland rice projects before the war which are currently being revived. About 400 acres of the 1 000 acre swamp area in Zoe-geh district have been rehabilitated and brought into production and 300 acres of the 600 acre swamp area in Saclepea-meh district have also been brought into production. Substantial acres of land in cocoa, coffee, oil palm, rubber and citrus trees have been rehabilitated. Provision of improved seed for vegetable production and breeding stock for livestock has also contributed to the recovery of the livestock sector although this is still below the pre-war levels. The recovery of the agricultural sector should be more rapid in the county if it is not disrupted by a resumption of fighting. Improved rural road infrastructure, access to improved processing and storage technologies supported by sustained research and extension services would go along way in stimulating commercial agricultural production in the county.

4.10 River Cess

Food production has steadily increased over the last three years following the resettlement of the displaced persons and distribution of agricultural inputs. Rice production has increased but is still below the production levels of before the war. Cassava production, however, is estimated to be above the pre-war production level. There are no more emergency food supplies in the area. The CRS is supporting schools through the Parent/Teacher Associations. Some inputs are available in the markets but farmers complain that they cannot afford them.

4.11 Sinoe

Sinoe county has an estimated population of 81 301 people. The main activities are agriculture, fishing and mining. Rice is the most important crop followed by cassava and plantain. During the current cropping season, there was lack of seed rice and the most productive workers migrated to alluvial gold mining areas within the county. There is a potential for increased rice and cassava production. Production constraints include poor road infrastructure that makes the region inaccessible during the rainy season and lack of markets. Donor support is being provided in the area of environmental management, road and bridge infrastructure rehabilitation and support to vulnerable groups.

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5. NATIONAL FOOD SUPPLY AND DEMAND IN 2001

5.1 Food prices and access to food

Food prices have been relatively stable in 2000, reflecting government control on rice imports and increasing production and consumption of cassava. However, access to food, especially by poor urban households, is difficult, due to high unemployment and low and irregular pay for wage earners, including civil servants. By contrast, although rural households face rice deficits, most are able to cover the deficit through a variety of coping mechanisms, including cassava consumption, hunting, gathering wild foods and collection and sale of palm oil and rubber. The resumption of operations by some of the commercial agricultural enterprises should provide relief to some of the households through employment and therefore enhanced purchasing power.

5.2 2001 marketing year food supply/demand balance sheet

The Mission has prepared the 2001 food balance sheet based on the following assumptions.

Table 4: Cereal balance sheet for 2001 (`000 tonnes)

 
Total cereals
Cassava (fresh weight)
Domestic availability
94
639
Production (milled rice)
94
639
Domestic Utilization
294
639
Food use
272
479
Losses, seed and other uses
22
160
Import requirements1/
200
-
Commercial imports
160
-
Food aid requirement
40
-

1/ Approximately 80 percent rice, 17 percent wheat and 3 percent maize.

The balance sheet shows an import requirement of 200 000 tonnes for 2001. Based on import data in recent years, commercial imports have been estimated by the Mission at 160 000 tonnes. This leaves an uncovered gap of 40 000 tonnes which will need to be met by food aid.

5.3 Emergency food aid needs

Due to renewed fighting and insecurity in Sierra Leone, the current group of Sierra Leone refugees in Liberia will most likely continue to require assistance during the year 2001. In addition to a monthly emergency ration, these beneficiaries will, where possible, be eligible to participate in food-for-work activities that will improve their sanitary and living conditions and strengthen their existing coping mechanisms. Supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes will also be available to the most vulnerable groups, particularly children under 5 and nursing mothers. Where land is available, seeds and tools will be provided to refugees to help them become more self-reliant.

New Liberian returnees, some Liberians who repatriated earlier, and resettled IDPs, will all require food aid through food-for-work activities that will assist them in the rehabilitation of agriculture, social infrastructure and skills training. Sierra Leone refugee children in Liberia (six camps in Montserado and Sinje) will continue to require educational support under the Emergency School Feeding Programme. Liberian children returning to Upper Lofa County will also require emergency assistance until they are integrated into the national development school feeding programme.

Under the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) West Africa Coastal No. 6271.00, the WFP emergency food needs for the year January-December 2001 are calculated as follows:

Number of beneficiaries:
145 000
Cereals:
10 723 tonnes
Pulses:
2 922 tonnes
Other commodities:
2 517 tonnes

Under the Support to Community-Based School Feeding Programme, Project No. Liberia 6239, the planned distribution during the year 2001 is as follows:

Number of beneficiaries:
140 000
Cereals:
5 880 tonnes
Pulses:
1 470 tonnes
Other commodities:
3 840 tonnes
   
Grand total:
24 835 tonnes


This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid
Chief, GIEWS FAO
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495
E-mail:
GIEWS1@FAO.ORG

M. Aranda da Silva
Regional Director, OSA, WFP
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
Fax: 0039-06-6513-2839
E-Mail:
Manuel.ArandadaSilva@WFP.ORG

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1 Cassava consumption will reduce this deficit somewhat, particularly in the rural areas.