WFP Livelihood Assets Promotion Program PDF Print Email

Livelihood Assets Promotion (LAP)
Donor:  World Food Programme (WFP)
Location: Lofa and Nimba Counties, Liberia
Program area: Food Security
Budget: US$110,000

 

 

Background:

In 2010 Africa Development Corps,  World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), implemented the European Union Food Facility Program’s Livelihood Asset Rehabilitation (LAR) project in Bong and Lofa Counties, Liberia. This project evolved into the Livelihood Assets Promotion (LAP) program, where ADC could use its experience and expertise in Lofa and Nimba Counties, Liberia.

The LAR and LAP Projects were initiated in response to the global food crisis to mitigate the impact of the increase in food prices in Liberia over the past decade. The projects aim to increase national food production by enhancing the capacity of smallholder farming communities.  The primary beneficiaries are 1,500 rural farmers, focusing on the most vulnerable and food insecure households (50 households per community in 30 communities).   ADC undertakes the technical lead on lowland rice scheme design and construction to support bi-annual rice production (20 hectares in Lofa county and 10 hectares in Nimba county). This is facilitated through the design and construction of small dams and irrigation infrastructures, and through the training of farmers in contemporary agronomic practices.


Phase 1:  Selecting Rural Communities

Lofa and Nimba were selected for their ideal rice growing environments: both have an abundance of swamps and a connection with low-land rice farming prior to the Liberian Civil War.  100 locations were identified by the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the existing farmers’ groups and ADC staff. Each of these locations were visited by MOA, ADC, WFP and SDC.  Questionnaires were conducted concerning the farming communities’ working methods, output, motivation and accessibility. After careful consideration 30 communities were selected for the program.

 

Phase 2:  Training Local Communities

VIA values the vital working relationships we form with the farmers. Prior to the project, our partner communities developed upland farms with both rice and vegetables, for which they slashed and burned down areas of forest. However agricultural experts from ADC, SDC and WFP concluded that swampland rice farming would be more economically beneficial and sustainable for the farmers. ADC’s strong relationships ensure that it can face the challenges to the project to help attain the final objective of harvesting two rice crops per year while greatly increasing yield per hectare.

In order to improve the overall understanding of the LAP program and to enhance program sustainability, ADC trains the farmers in modern rice farming techniques with weekly visits of Field Technicians assigned by the LAP program and the SDC funded program, Farmers Field School (FFS). With an illiteracy rate of over 80% this can be challenging; however, the strong relationships bolster ADC’s ability to ensure positive outcomes. Emphasis on the increased yield and thereby income for the farmers is a focus of community training visits.  Communities are encouraged to democratically elect farming leadership within the groups, so they can self-determine how to handle their harvest. Some groups divide the yield among the participating families, while others use the money from the sale of the rice for common investments in their communities.

Read more on the FFS: See Link.


Phase 3:  Manual Labour

All communities commit to working in the rice fields at least 3 working days per week (or 12 days per month) to meet the LAP objectives. In light of past experience with various incentive mechanisms, ADC utilizes Cash For Work (CFW) as a means to motivate its farmers. The cash injection in the communities has very positive secondary outcomes.  Some beneficiaries expand or start a small retail business in the community while others use the cash received to pay for medical expenses, children’s school fees or simply saving some money for future expenses. These illustrate an immediate improvement in the well being of participating communities.

Results

In 2013 ADC and its farmers established 30 hectares of irrigated swamps that will resist the hardships of the dry season.  This will yield two rice crops in the year, as opposed to non-irrigated farming which only yields one crop per year.   With an average expected yield of 3 metric tons of rice per hectare, this will result in 180 metric tons of rice harvested in one calendar year.   By September 2014 ADC hopes to have repeated this success so that proper swamp rice farming and double cropping is engrained in the Liberian agricultural practice.  The greater production will increase the rice supply, lowering prices and improving food security for Liberian families.

Special thanks to The RISE Foundation, which provided support for the spillways in one particularly challenging site, namely Zaygley in Nimba County.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button