Agriculture Minister, Jeanine M. Cooper
Agriculture Minister Jeanine Cooper has joined several world personalities to participate in the launch of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) replenishment for 2020-25 hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
According to a release from the MOA, Minister Cooper shared the fundraising with German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller; Gilbert Houngbo, President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Martien van Nieuwkoop, Global Director at the World Bank, and Microsoft giant Bill Gates among others.
The release said a total of US$300 million was raised at the virtual event against the US$1.5 billion target to support agriculture in selected countries for the next five years for which Australia, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Germany, Norway, and Spain contributed to the first tranche.
"This new funding will allow GAFSP to continue its support for smallholder farmers, businesses, and countries to achieve food security by launching a new call for proposals in early 2021 to support COVID-19 response and recovery," GAFSP said.
"Liberia will be getting GAFSP's new funding tranche to support smallholder farmers," the release said.
In making Liberia's case, Minister Cooper indicated: "In Liberia, we have seen the firsthand positive impact that our partnership with GAFSP has had in addressing food and nutrition security. In the face of climate change and a global pandemic, we must continue to invest in our farmers to build stronger and more resilient communities," she told participants.
GAFSP is a leading global financing instrument dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in the world's poorest countries. It works to strengthen agriculture and food systems to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and their families.
It was established in response to the 2007 -2008 food price crisis to address a clear need for increased investment in agriculture and food security.
The release further said that the GAFSP has been one of the major donors to Liberia's agriculture sector.
"It provided US$46.5 million constituting 85.32% of funding for Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercial (SAPEC) Project under the MOA that was co-financed by the African Development Bank," the release added.
The MOA release mentioned that the SEPEC project is based in 12 of Liberia's 15 counties namely Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, River Gee, Rivercess, and Sinoe.
"As of December 2019, the project has reached 145,754 people (43.7 percent women). SAPEC has met its target of using 500 hectares of developed lowland for vegetable production achieved by 600 farmers across the project counties, including farmer-based organizations; trained and built the capacities of about 2,800 farmers, NGOs, and project field officers on improved practices in rice, cassava, and vegetable production, and on post-harvest/value addition techniques", the release concluded.