President George M. Weah has issued an executive order that reestablishes the National Food Assistance Agency (NFAA) to ensure the food security needs of the citizens especially in critical times like the coronavirus outbreak.
NFAA has been operated under an executive order since the 1970s with the statutory mandate to coordinate on behalf of the government food assistance from foreign sources such as the Word Food Program (WFP), the Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere (CARE) and others.
The duration of the executive order for the period of one year limits NFAA from fully executing its statutory mandate even though it has initiated several activities in furtherance of fulfilling its mandate as identified by the administration of the newly appointed director general by President George M. Weah.
According to the executive order, the government, being cognizant of the lengthy processes involved in passing legislations to achieve certain objectives, realizes the need to empower NFFA to institute measures aimed at the country beginning the process of reforming its food assistance program.
In the implementation of the executive order, NFAA shall ensure several measures including the conduct of a nationwide rapid assessment to collect baseline data on the prevalence of food insecurity and derive recommendations for the support needed to reduce its effects, conduct statistics and create a comprehensive database for both local and international food related NGOs as well as ensure proper monitoring mechanisms of food donation from foreign sources and their ultimate distribution and supply to targeted Liberian beneficiaries and institutions.
Moreover, the entity shall ensure the continuous existence of regional food banks across the country for timely interventions in food assistance during natural disasters such as flood, quakes and droughts.
“The agency shall be autonomous but under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, structured to have a board of directors that comprises nine members from the Ministries of Finance, Commerce, Education and of Internal Affairs; the General Services Agency, Chamber of Commerce and the Liberia Marketing Association with NFAA serving as secretary on the board.
However, international organizations such as FAO, WFP, can attend board meetings as observers and partners of the NFAA to execute programs.
The board of directors shall have the power and duties to approve regulations for implementation of the executive order, approve the strategic plan of the agency, approve the appointment and dismissal of staff made by the director of the agency, among other functions.