Liberia has been a PARM country since May 2016 until the end of the joint process in March 2019. The PARM Process permitted partners to commit to supporting various activities to facilitate the integration of Agricultural Risk Management (ARM) into the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Program (LASIP II).
PARM Phases Status (H1)
In Liberia, the agriculture sector’s contribution to the economy worth 38.8% of GDP and more than 70% employment for the population. Even though the country has a favourable climate and abundant water resources for farming, yields are relatively lower. This is attributable to compounding risk affecting agricultural production and marketing activities.
As part of the recently initiated PARM Process in Liberia, a risk assessment was launched to provide a clear analysis of the array of risks affecting the agricultural sector. The assessment also enabled stakeholders to identify and confirm the three key priority risks: 1) high precipitation 2) post-harvest losses, and 3) crop pests and diseases.
After the risk assessment validation workshop. PARM engaged with country partners to developed two ARM tools for investment: 1) access to information for farmers on weather, pest and diseases and price; and 2) sustainable investment plan for ARM training in Liberia
PARM also collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture to organize a capacity development (CD1) seminar that strengthened stakeholder knowledge and awareness on ARM.
PARM has attracted the interest of MoA for investment into a 1.5M 3-year information systems on ARM and the 5M 5-year CD4ARM training programme in Liberia. Other stakeholders including IFAD-ICO also showed interest to integrate findings from the PARM RAS into its COSOP, which is under formulation.
The PARM team organized the first visit to Liberia in May 2016, to get the official commitment of the Government of Liberia and to develop a roadmap to initiate the discussion on ARM mainstreaming into strategic development policies, plans and budget.
Different meetings were held with national and international stakeholders to discuss the PARM process and identify synergies to support PARM studies and capacity development in the years ahead.
Roadmap for the PARM Process
By the end of June 2016, an official roadmap for the PARM process was developed in collaboration with the CAADP focal point (based at the Ministry of Planning).
Risk Assessment Study (RAS)
In September 2016, a call for proposal was launched to identify experts/service providers to conduct the Risk Assessment Study. CEIGRAM was selected and contracted for the study, which conducted from December 2016 to May 2017.
Identification of Country Liaison Officer
Also, as ARM processes in Liberia expand, the need for a country coordinator became necessary. A Country Liaison Officer was, therefore, identified and contracted by December 2016 to support the coordination and implementation of all PARM activities in Liberia. The selection process was finalized jointly by PARM and the CAADP/PARM focal point at the Ministry of Planning.
Capacity Development (CD1) Seminar
PARM collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture to organise the first capacity development (CD1) seminar on 20-21 April 2017. The seminar aimed at introducing national stakeholders (including officials from government agencies, farmers organizations, and academia) to PARM’s risk assessment methodology, the holistic approach to ARM, and an overview of ARM tools.
Risk Assessment Validation Workshop
After receiving the first draft of Liberia RAS in May 2017, PARM organized a workshop on the 14th of June 2017 to present the preliminary results, confirm the priority risk and seek stakeholders’ inputs for identifying relevant ARM tools.
The revised RAS report was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture for official validation, after which it was formatted and published on the PARM website as a resource on ARM.
During the National Stakeholder workshop on June 2017, two ARM tools were identified for priority investment in Liberia: 1) timely access to information for farmers on weather, pest and diseases and price through the establishment of integrated information systems in Liberia; and 2) sustainable investment plan for ARM training in Liberia. A Terms of Reference (ToR) was prepared in September 2018 for feasibility studies on these two tools.
Two institutions were identified and contracted – the NITIDAE consultancy firm and the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich. They conducted the studies from December 2017 to March 2019.
High-level Agricultural Coordination Committee Meeting
In March 2019, PARM actively participated in Liberia’s high-level Agricultural Coordination Committee (ACC). It presented the findings from the two feasibility studies and the overall outcomes of the joint-process. The meeting officially marked the end of the country engagement which started in 2016. However, further opportunities exist through the PARM Horizon 2 for the continuous facilitation of ARM integration into country frameworks.
By May 2019, the feasibility studies reports have been revised with comments from stakeholders, allowing official validation by the MoA and publication of the full report in the PARM online Library.
Matching ARM needs with priority investments
At the Liberia ACC meeting in March 2019, the axes of an action plan and institutional arrangements to support the implementation of the ARM tools were discussed with the MoA to ensure ARM integration into the Liberia National Agriculture Investment Plan (LASIP II) (2018-2022).
Also, at the ACC meeting, PARM discussed ARM investment plans with the committee, which comprised of stakeholders from the Donor Community including USAID, EU, WB etc. and other international organizations including World Food Program (WFP), IFAD-ICO and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The discussions attracted their interest into possible opportunities to collaborate with the MoA for investment in the proposed ARM tools – the 1.5M 3-year information systems on ARM and the 5M 5-year CD4ARM training programme in Liberia. Particularly, IFAD-ICO showed interest to integrate findings from the PARM RAS into its COSOP, which is under formulation.
Country Final Report
The overall PARM process led to a number of achievements, in terms of bringing ARM to the core of development and agricultural policies, assessing risks for evidence to improve risk perception, strengthening capacities and enhancing partnerships on ARM, investing in priority tools for better agricultural risk management, and engaging with the Government, local institutions and development partners.
All these achievements and many other outcomes are documented in the Liberia Final Report, serving as a key reference document on PARM progress towards mainstreaming ARM into the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Program (LASIP II).