Despite fertile soils, smallholder farmers in Liberia continue to suffer low yields. This is primarily due to lack of access to seeds and tools, as well as ineffective agricultural methods. Many Liberian farmers limit their production to a few crops and lack the knowledge and confidence to experiment growing a greater variety of nutritious and commercially viable crops. The consequence is poor nutrition, low resilience, and inter-generational poverty. The 2016 World Bank Household Income and Expenditure Survey found that 50.9% of Liberians live below the poverty line and 39.1% experience food poverty.
In consideration of the facts, June 14th 2018 marked the launch of the EU-Liberia Agriculture Programme (EULAP) – Prosperous Agriculture Roadmap to Nutrition, Entrepreneurship and Reinforcing Sustainability Project (PARTNERS). Hon. Mogana S. Flomo, Jr. PhD, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Liberia and Ambassador and Hélène Cavé, European Union Ambassador to Liberia presented the programme in Monrovia. They explained that the project will be implemented by a consortium of SPARK, Welthungerhilfe (WHH), ZOA and Concern Worldwide.
The programme will also involve local partners and the Government of Liberia at a national and county level. From 2018 to 2023, this initiative will support 6,600 smallholder farming households, 50 agro enterprises, and vulnerable households in 220 communities.
The PARTNERS project aims to create businesses for farmers, increase their incomes, provide food during crisis times and bring wholesome food to the diet of the population. The €12 million grant reaffirms the strong working relationship between the European Union and the Government and people of Liberia, and more specifically, as Hélène Cavé said: “This is a sign of how seriously the EU takes agriculture and food security in Liberia… Agriculture is considered to be a priority by the new Government in the pro poor agenda sponsored by President Weah.”
Finally, these long-term actions will lead to new collaborations and linkages with public and private entities, as well as civil society organisations. The engagement of these parties will increase the sustainability of the project but more importantly strengthen and support the business environment and development in Liberia.