The final report of the Liberian Government COVID-19 Household Food Support Program (COHFSP) has disclosed that over two million Liberians benefited from the food ration program, which was geared towards containing the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, the COHFSP program targeted about 500,000 food-insecure households, which constitutes 2.5 million, people based on an average household size of five persons in Liberia, with a one-month food ration.
It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia declared a State of Emergency on April 8, 2020, after the first case of the Coronavirus was announced on March 16, 2020, as the program was introduced as part of government’s early actions to address the pandemic.
The declaration of the State of Emergency restricted the movement of people across the country and introduced curfews, beginning with the first four counties that recorded cases of the virus, and later extended to the remaining 11 counties.
As a result, the Government then decided to assist the vulnerable population to meet their short-term food and nutritional needs during the restriction, which led to the announcing of the provision of a one-month food ration for the most vulnerable households through the COHFSP.
To jump-start the process, the government also requested the World Food Program to implement the COHFSP assistance, through a US$30 Million sum provided by two separate grants; US$25 million from the Ministry of Finance, utilizing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, and US$5 million from the Ministry of Agriculture/ World Bank, under the Smallholder Agriculture Transportation and Agribusiness Revitalization Project (STAR-P).
But the COHFSP report also revealed that the program targeted 500,000 food-insecure households, with a one-month food ration which constitutes 2.5 million individuals, based on an average household size in Liberia.
The estimated 2.5 million individuals included vulnerable households affected by COVID-19, healthcare and frontline emergency workers, and at-risk groups, such as persons with disabilities, orphans, the elderly, disadvantaged youths, and homeless persons in welfare institutions.
The report further highlighted that a total of 32 metric tons of assorted food commodities needed to be distributed in the 15 political subdivisions of Liberia to provide a household ration of 50 Kilograms of rice, 10 Kilograms of pulses, and 4.5 Kilograms of oil.
Breakdown of COHFSP Distribution Per County:
According to the report, about 17,085 households, amounting to 85,425 individuals, benefited from the food ration in Bomi County, while 18,627 households, constituting 93,135 individuals, got theirs in Grand Cape County.
In Gbarpolu County, 10,457 households, amounting to 52,285 individuals, got supplied, while 23,857 households, constituting 119,285 beneficiaries, got theirs in Grand Bassa County. In Grand Gedeh County, a total of 16,935 households (84,695 persons) benefited from the food ration, while 11,108 households (55,090 persons) got in Grand Kru County.
Elsewhere, in Lofa County, the report indicated that a whopping number of 29, 308 households, constituting 165,725 individuals, benefited from the food ration, while 27,609 households in Margibi County received, which amounts to 138,045 individuals.
For Maryland County, the report unearthed that 129,730 households were served the food ration, constituting 648,150 individuals, and an additional 1,645 beneficiaries in six welfare institutions were recorded for the COHFSP program.
As for Montserrado County, it was recorded that a gigantic amount of 187,029 households benefited, amounting to 935,145 individuals, and in Nimba County, 58,757 households (293,785 persons) benefited, while 13,404 households, constituting 64,915 individuals benefited from the food ration in River Gee County.
In Rivercess County, a total of 11,446 households (57,230 persons) got supplied, while 15,661 households, constituting 78,305 persons, were recorded to have benefited from the COHFSP program in Sinoe County.
Finally, the Central most part of Liberia, Bong County, recorded 41,720 households, amounting to 208,600 individuals.
The report added that on a general perspective, the COHFSP program’s objectives were achieved, on grounds that it assisted the vulnerable population during the pandemic where travel restrictions were enforced by health authorities and the Government of Liberia at large, as a means of containing the deadly Coronavirus pandemic through contact tracing, diagnosis, and early treatment for Liberian citizens, as well as residents of other countries.