Annie and John have been married more than two and a half decades. Since their nuptials in 1987, they have had 6 children. They live in Doumpa Town -- a community of approximately 4,000 people, in Nimba County in eastern Liberia near the Guinea border. Because many of the leaders during the civil war were from this county it was relatively protected while the rest of the country was up in arms. Thus, Annie and John have spent their entire lives as subsistence farmers relatively untouched in this remote community where more than 65% of people cannot afford 2400kcal/per day.
41% of Liberia’s population is considered food insecure, with children especially hard-hit. Reports indicate that 65-80% of Liberians live on less than $1.25 a day. Liberia is highly dependent on foreign aid. It makes up 771% of their current GoL spending, among the highest in Africa. Food security and improved nutrition are vital to Liberia's success and economic development. The main food insecurity problems are due to: low agricultural productivity, under developed value chains, poor nutritional options and behaviors, and limited public services and capacity. With those in mind, FTF, has developed a 3 point strategy to tackle these challenges:
- Invest in food security through interventions in critical staple value chains: Rice and cassava
- Invest in income and diet diversification through high potential value chain pilots: Vegetables and goats
- Invest in cross-cutting improvements in government capacity and the enabling environment
Doumpa Town is home to one of the latest projects funded by the President’s Feed the Future initiative. It’s geared at training farmers like Annie and John how to better prepare their crops to yield more produce and reduce negative environmental impacts. The project started because a member of the community heard about another USAID funded project and petitioned the USAID project to help them. After many outreaches, USAID finally sent a representative to scope out the site which led to the formal agreement with the USAID implementer, FED (Food and Enterprise Development), to start a program in February 2012. In fact, this community is motivated and ready to improve their lives if they can get access to the necessary tools and education. Annie, who volunteered to work in the program, started her own farm more than 2 decades ago. She said proudly, “I don’t want to suffer. I work hard for myself.”