The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) program on March 28, 2017 signed an agreement with the Farmers’ Union Network of Liberia (FUN) providing US$98,000 to strengthen the capacity of Forest and Farm Producers Organizations (FFPOs) in Liberia.
The new FFF agreement with FUN is the second targeting three additional counties, including River Cess, Gbarpolu and Margibi. The first agreement supported Lofa, Cape Mount and Nimba counties, bringing the total number of counties supported by the FFF through FUN to six.
The agreement aims to establish and strengthen the forest and farm commodity associations, improve communications and advocacy at local and national levels, as well as enhance their business and marketing capacities.
Mr. Julius Bass, National Coordinator of FUN, signed the agreement on behalf of his organization, while Mr. Marc Abdala, FAO Country Representative, signed for FAO.
During the signing ceremony, Mr. Abdala recounted the longstanding partnership between the FAO-FFF project and the Farmer Union Network in working with forest farmers for sustainable livelihood.
He added that the funding provided will enhance the capacity of forest producers and add value to their productions.
“We are going to work with forest producers in the targeted counties, adding value to their production and thereby ensuring that the forest is protected,” he said.
With support from FAO through the FFF, FUN will engage smallholder forest producers and women’s groups through capacity enhancement exercises to reduce rural poverty and deliver food security, sustainable management of the forest, biodiversity and climate change.
FUN National Coordinator Mr. Bass noted that the agreement will bring together smallholder and community-based farmers in a more organized way so that they will be stronger and more effective to increase their voices on policy issues to improve their business opportunities.
“This will help organize farmers to get more structured and direct support and will give FUN the mandate to advocate for more enabling national policies and lobby for direct support from government and development partners to the forest and farm organizations,” he added.
Multi-year partnership agreements are ongoing in ten countries currently, namely: Bolivia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Zambia, The Gambia, Liberia, Kenya, Vietnam, Nepal and Myanmar.
Country grants are allocated to forest and farm producer organizations, government agencies and service providers at the country level; focus on organizing forest and farm producers’ increased policy voice; and for livelihoods and business. The supported activities reflect the local priorities, respect national dynamics between stakeholders, stimulate dialogue between parties, and respond to the variety of country contexts and opportunities.