In Liberia, 64% of the population –more than two million people– lives below the poverty line. The agriculture sector – food and tree crops, fisheries, and livestock – accounts for 38.8% of GDP, and 70% of the country’s population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. The sector is a significant contributor to the economy in terms of employment and foreign exchange earnings, and a primary determinant of nutrition, education, poverty reduction, and rural transformation. Women are major players, producing over 60% of agricultural products and constituting the majority of smallholder producers and the agricultural labor force. Approximately half of the population is either food insecure or highly vulnerable to food shortages due in part to low agricultural productivity that, in turn, is caused by structural impediments, inadequate policies, and prolonged conflicts that displaced farming communities, degraded transport and processing infrastructures, and diminished productive capacities such as assets and skilled personnel.
The Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization Project (SAPEC) aims to transform Liberia’s agriculture sector, which is dominated by traditional subsistence farming systems, characterized by labor-intensive shifting cultivation and low technologies that result in low productivity. The Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in Cote d’Ivoire and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria are key implementing partners for this project, and SAPEC also supports the Liberia Agriculture Transformation Agenda (LATA) which includes targeted programs and action plans aimed to raise productivity of the sector by delivering modern inputs and finance to farmers and agribusinesses. The project promotes the use of improved technologies for rice, cassava, and vegetables such as climate change resilient rice varieties and fertilizers; develop new irrigation and drainage systems in lowlands; rehabilitate feeder roads, storage facilities, and agro-processing equipment. The project also addresses the acute shortage of skilled manpower for planning and supervision of sector development activities by providing post-graduate scholarships to master degree programs in various agriculture-related disciplines in Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania, as well as promotes rural enterprises for employment creation, particularly women, youths and physically-challenged especially in rice and cassava processing.
Task Team Leader & Senior Agricultural Economist
Official Project Documents:
- Cover Letters with Endorsements from: the Government and the Donor Group
- GAFSP Proposal
- Agriculture and Food Security Strategy
- Sector Investment Plan
- CAADP Compact
- CAADP Technical Review Report