Liberia Agriculture Commercialization Fund (LACF)
The Liberia Agribusiness Commercialization Fund (LACF) has been setup under Component 2 both the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P) and the Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP).
In line with the overall objectives for STAR-P, the objective of LACF is to increase agricultural productivity and commercialization of smallholder farmers for selected value chains in selected counties of Liberia. The Project seeks to achieve its objective of increasing agricultural productivity and promoting smallholder commercialization by facilitating private sector investment in selected value- chains and by fostering productive linkages between smallholder farmers and selected agribusiness firms to promote access to markets. The Fund will also address financing and technical assistance challenges faced by agribusinesses, farmer cooperatives, Financial Institutions that have plans to work with smallholder farmers in out-grower schemes.
The Fund will promote agribusiness and smallholder farmer linkages along all value chains based on the following criteria
- Demonstration of impact on farmers’ income;
- Job creation; and
STAR-P: The STAR P project as a whole will directly benefit 38,000 smallholder farmers, of which 40 percent will be women and 35 percent as youth. The LACF will be a major contributor to achieving these expected results. The project will also specifically target the activities undertaken by women and youth through the following interventions: (i) ensuring that the criteria for selection of beneficiaries for the fund and matching grants includes up to 40 percent of targeted women and youth producer organizations; (ii) ensuring that there is gender disaggregation in the key performance indicators so that women and youth targeting is adhered to by project implementers; and (iii) Inclusion of a Social and Citizen Engagement Officer in the Project Implementation Unit to spearhead gender mainstreaming in project activities. Identification and sensitization of these groups will be undertaken through the Project Implementation Unit along with the Ministry of Agriculture extension department. Other beneficiaries include agribusinesses, and agribusiness SMEs, and other officials working in government such as elected and appointed government officials and other institutions, which provide services necessary for smallholder commercialization and agribusiness development in Liberia.
RETRAP: All proposals selected for funding will focus on climate- smart agriculture, modernizing individual farm operations, enhancing productivity, and reducing losses (production and post-harvest losses) to meet market demands, with the goal of solidifying partnerships within a value chain. Proposals that empower women (women’s groups and agri-entrepreneurs) and incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation features such as intercropping and conservation agriculture (which will increase crop diversification); use of climate-resilient seeds and varieties; methods to retain soil nutrients and prevent soil erosion; improved water management; efficient pest and disease management; the use of alternative energy sources; recycling water and waste; and energy saving technologies) will receive priority. The aim is that at least 75 percent of the sub-projects are climate smart. Matching grants will be provided through three dedicated windows designed to support the different types of beneficiaries participating in a single investment subproject. The matching grant will cover only part of the overall cost of implementing approved subprojects.