Monitoring Consultant for The Programme Development of Markets and Value Chains in Agriculture

FCG Sweden (formerly ORGUT) in cooperation with Nathan Associates London, supported Sida/ Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia, Liberia, in monitoring the design and implementation of the programme Development of Markets and Value Chains in Agriculture in Liberia. The work was grounded in the Swedish Development cooperation strategy with Liberia 2008-2014, which identified agricultural development and business, including regional and international trade, as a priority area for development aid support. A Facilitator was procured for the design and implementation of the Programme and the Facilitator was accountable to Sida for the results and for management of the financial resources, and reports to Sida. Together with a Programme Advisory Board (PAB) with appointed members representing Liberian stakeholders including the Ministry of Agriculture, Sida oversaw the Programme with support from the FCG Sweden-Nathan Associates Consortium. The service was intended to support Sida/The Embassy in the follow-up of the Programme and assure a close monitoring focused on results. The programme for instance adhered to the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) Standard for Results Measurement.

The intervention supported the Development of Markets and Value Chains in Agriculture in Liberia, with a contribution of 141 MSEK over a six year period (2013-2019), and implemented using the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach. It had two distinct phases – a 6 month design phase and a 5.5 year implementation (including a one-year extension into 2019). The overall goal of the Programme was to contribute to sustainable peace and poverty reduction through inclusive and integrated economic development. Its objective/expected impact was substantially increased incomes and employment opportunities for a large number of poor women, men and youth, created through Market and Value Chain (M&VC) development in agriculture. The expected outcome was increased business activities, trade and value addition through increased capacity and competitiveness of smallholder farmers and related micro and small enterprises. The expected outputs were systemic changes in market systems relevant for smallholder farmers and related micro and small enterprises in terms of 1) Improved market functions; 2) Improved performance of support services; and 3) Improved business environment. The direct target groups were smallholder farmers and related owners of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the selected agricultural sub-sectors, with special focus on women and youth, who are willing and able to take the risk that accompanies innovation and change. The indirect target group included workers and daily labourers, other farmers and enterprises that profit from the interventions, and small enterprises which will benefit from the increased income of the direct target group. Consumers were also expected to profit from better and cheaper products. The programme focused on supporting the producers of rubber, vegetables, cocoa as well as agro-processors.

Liberia’s economy can be described as a dual economy, segmented into two broad divisions. One segment is formal and export oriented, represented by the large private enterprises exporting raw materials including plantation agriculture in tree crops (cash crops) and other formal private businesses, notably providing services in urban areas. The second economic division is an informal smallholder and subsistence sector in agriculture mainly in rural areas, with a focus on food crops production as well as small scale artisanal mining, logging, fishing and informal economic activities in terms of self-employed micro level traders largely in the urban areas. The agricultural sector is thus similarly divided, mainly between large plantations and small household farms. This dualistic economic structure produces stark inequalities between the different segments of the Liberian society and poses a serious threat to peace, security and long term sustainable economic and social development.
The agriculture sector has seen investments from some of the world’s leading vertically integrated oil palm and rubber companies who have secured their existing and new concession areas. This offers the promise of several thousand additional jobs and additional economic and market opportunities for service providers and smallholder farmers. In particular, these investments offers opportunities to promote smallholder farmers and MSEs through partnerships with the private sector that can stimulate pro-poor business linkages and build the capacity of smallholders.

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