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Government of Liberia, FAO & AfDB Coordinate Efforts to Secure Long-term Agriculture Development Initiative

©FAO/Liberia
08/08/2019

8 August 2019, Monrovia— The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Liberia is closely supporting the Ministry of Agriculture to secure funding  from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) for a long-term agriculture development initiative aimed at improving food and nutrition security and income generating capacity of poor farmers.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP)

GAFSP is multilateral financing mechanism set up by several donor partners and stakeholders who are committed to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in developing countries. Through GAFSP, donors and partners pool resources, allocate the resources using a common framework, and favoring most needed and catalytic allocations that are tailored to recipient countries’ priorities and private sector development.

Its support goes to finance resilient and sustainable agriculture in developing countries in a way that would benefit women, youth, poor and vulnerable rural smallholder farmers. To achieve these, GASFP deploys multiple financing schemes including grants, concessional loans, blended finance, technical assistance and advisory services to recipient countries.

By partnering and collaborating with leading global institutions, GASFP avails their rich experiences and capacity in support of effective implementation of projects in recipient countries, while ensuring that those countries retain the choice of which technical institution to work with.

Special Call for Proposals from Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries.

Under the grant financing scheme, GASFP, this year specially called on fragile and conflict-affected countries to submit, by September 10, 2019, proposals for five-year agricultural development initiatives for potential funding. This action aims to fill the financing gaps in the country and regional agriculture and food security strategies, thereby contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2 of No Poverty and Zero Hunger.

Currently GASFP has US$100 million non-committed resources in its Public Sector Window, likely to be allocated to highest-ranked proposals under the present call.  Eligibility for this call for proposal is limited to countries that are fragile and conflict affected as determined by the World Bank Group.

It also encourages submission with evidence of stakeholder participation, including farmers, producer organizations and relevant civil society organizations, from project design to implementation and monitoring and evaluation.  Classified as a fragile country, Liberia is eligible to apply for the 2019 GAFSP funding. As GASFP recipient countries retain the right to choose which organization to partner and collaborate with the Government of Liberia, following the special call for proposals, requested technical assistance from FAO to support in the preparation of the project proposal.

In support of the processes of developing the proposal, FAO in collaboration with the African Development Bank Group and the Ministry of Agriculture organized a one-day consultative meeting in Monrovia to gather feedbacks and comments from major actors in the food and nutrition security sector including farmers, producer and relevant civil society organizations to feed into the proposal. The event brought together technical experts from the government, private sector, civil society organizations, farmers and the media.

Agriculture - A  Contributor to Liberia’s Economy

Speaking at the opening of the one-day national stakeholders’ consultative workshop in Monrovia, Madam Mariatou Njie, FAO Representative in Liberia said “Agriculture plays a key role in the economy, and is a major contributor to meeting the country’s food security targets.

She noted that agriculture has the potential to reduce considerably the import of agricultural commodities that can be produced in the country. Madam Njie furthered that “Agriculture has tremendous potential for investment, especially in agro-industries; product development; production of exotic commodities for every high value market”.

The FAO Representative averred that GAFSP will contribute to addressing the many challenges in the agricultural sector in order to achieve food self-sufficiency and transform the sector to be more competitive. She said FAO will continue to support the government's efforts in promoting food and Nutrition security and in tackling extreme poverty through an integrated and coordinated approach for the benefit of the people of the Liberia.

Mark EGHAN, Senior Agriculture Economist at the African Development, Bank said “In this special call that is limited to fragile and conflict affected countries, GAFSP will be seeking for proposals that clearly justify public sector investment and that also consider opportunities for complementary private sector engagement.”

He said the AfDB will continue to demonstrate its comparative advantages in agricultural and infrastructure development in Liberia. “We have established a credible footprint and record of emergency and early recovery work in post-conflict Liberia.”

On his part, Hon. Robert K Fagan, Deputy Minister of Planning and Development at the Ministry of Agriculture, welcomed the efforts and thanked FAO for providing the needed assistance to the government of Liberia to develop a proposal that will improve the agricultural sector.

He said the GAFSP initiative for Liberia will not only be a major boost to the agricultural sector, but will help address urgent needs of hundreds of poor farmers through production and productivity improvement and institutional capacity building.