The government of Liberia (GoL) and partners recently launched a diagnostic on policy effectiveness to improve resource allocation, investment and capacity development decisions in support of Food, Nutrition Security & Sustainable Agriculture (FNS&SA) by GOL, European Union (EU), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other development partners.
The event which was held at a local resort in Monrovia brought together government officials, including representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance, officials from FAO, EU, and other donor organizations. Also attending the event were farmers organizations, Civil Society representatives, the private sector and members of the Liberian media.
It was organized by the Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST), a Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – European Union (EU) Partnership Policy Assistance Facility. The dialogue seeks to present and discuss the process of the diagnostic on the effectiveness of the main polices processes, especially the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (LASPI-II) in which the government and its partners are engaged.
FIRST, which is currently working in the regions of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Near East, represents a strategic partnership between FAO and the EU. In the partnership, the EU is making an investment of nearly €8 billion in over 60 countries between 2014 and 2020 to improve FNS&SA, while FAO is providing support to create a more enabling policy and institutional environment in which investments made by government, EU, and other partners will have a more direct and tangible impact.
Agriculture Minister Mogana Flomo told participants at the program that it is important for partners to continue to collaborate with the government to improve policies that can promote agriculture in order to reduce poverty in the lives of farmers and sustain food security.
He said that the government of Liberia remains committed to ensuring that country becomes food secure.
“President George Weah has expressed commitment to prioritize agriculture as indicated in his recent annual address to the nation. He has promised to take the lead to ensure the agricultural sector become improved. With the right policies put in to place by the government and partners, it is possible that the PADP can be achieved through agriculture. This is why, we are anticipating your endless supports to drive the sector forward,” he said.
According him the improvement of food and nutrition security is a cross cutting issues affecting many sectors. “Improving food and nutrition security is not only limited to having access to food but also improving education, health and sustaining peace.
“We can sustain the peace provided agriculture remain a priority for the government,” he added.
Minister Flomo further stated that government expects within the next 5-years to significantly improve food security in the country, but he noted that it will require collective commitment from both the government and its citizens.
He said his ministry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in collaboration with FAO, have decided to make communal farming a main focus to increase the level of food production.
“We have promised to reduce the importation of rice this year by seven percent. Therefore we are collaborating with the local authorities at counties level to carry out communal farming from a different approach,” he said.
FAO country representative, Mariatou Njie said FIRST in the past 2-years have supported the government of Liberia in policy formulation and implementation, coordination of food security and capacity building.
“The government and partners formulated and technically validated the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Program (LASIP) second generation. This investment plan has put an emphasis on Food and Nutrition Security, which is the first pillar of the document. It is achieved with the active participation of all stakeholders of the sector,” she explained.
She said due to the deteriorating conditions of food situations in many countries governments have expressed commitment to investment in order to achieve food and nutrition,” adding this is in the heart of FAO and EU.
She stated that the ‘FIRST’ effectiveness diagnostic will provide analysis and situation to improve food and nutrition security and poverty as well as contribute to the decisions of the government, FAO and other stakeholders in prioritizing their actions within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals 2 and serve as the baseline of the evaluation of the policies assistance provided to Liberia.
According to her, the diagnostic is therefore meant to give a voice to the various stakeholders in agriculture and food and nutrition security on the effectiveness of policies in addressing the challenges confronting agriculture.
She added that recommendations derive from the process will help improve resource allocation for the sector.
The FAO representative thanked the government and the EU for helping to improve resource allotment for agriculture in Liberia.
Representing EU was the Head of Section Resilience Cooperation, Ivan Borisavljevic, who stated that EU remain committed in supporting Liberia improve food security through policies.
“EU recognizes the importance to support agriculture to improve food security and reduce poverty in the lives of farmers. The ‘FIRST” program will continue to capacity the capacity of the ministry of agriculture in whatever possible,” he said.