To enhance price monitoring mainly for basic food commodities across the country, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Liberia and authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), as well as the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), recently commenced a two-day Joint Price Monitoring Technical Training in Gbarnga, Bong County for 30 technicians.
The Price Monitoring Technical training workshop aims to capture and facilitate experience-sharing and equipping MoA, and LISGIS field-level staff engaged in collection, analysis and reporting of market data to better communicate, improve the contents of the monthly market monitoring bulletins, and strengthen partnerships and networks.
Tarnue Koiwou, Acting Director of Food Security and Nutrition at the MoA, informed the participants at the start of the training that the exercise is supported by WFP and FAO. "This is our responsibility, and so we must take ownership of this going forward. WFP and other partners have been helping us to establish our market information system, and we must sustain it and make price monitoring work well for this country. The price monitoring bulletin is relevant to universities, development partners, regional partners, people and organizations in America and elsewhere, but most importantly for us in the country," Koiwou said.
Emmanuel Anderson, WFP Liberia's Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping Officer, lauded the Liberian government for its enduring partnership with the WFP on price monitoring activities.
Anderson said WFP's work in the country is carefully aligned to the government's Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development priorities. "WFP has a global mandate to support some of the most vulnerable members of society, with different social protection interventions," he said.
According to WFP, 23 markets are being monitored with approximately 20 food commodities, and other non-food items involving 27 data collection personnels and enumerators from LISGIS field offices in all 15 counties. This includes markets as far away as Foya in Lofa County; Saclepea, Nimba County; Barclayville, Grand Kru County, and as close as markets in Monrovia, Montserrad County.
Anderson said that Liberia is increasingly vulnerable to high food price shocks as has been witnessed since 2008, but the government has been concerned about the rise in food prices, and as such, it has been undertaking regular joint government-WFP market monitoring exercises for which an MoU was signed between the Liberian government (MoA, LISGIS) and WFP.