Overview, scope and methods
Since the end of conflict in 2003, and helped by the 2008 global food price hike, local rice production is bouncing back. High-potential rice growing areas such as Foya (Lofa County) are now producing marketable surpluses and local rice is available in the market in Monrovia on a seasonal basis. However, rice is still predominantly imported from Asia and America (60%) as are almost two-thirds of Liberia's total domestic food requirements. Given low foreign exchange reserves, this high dependency on food imports makes Liberia extremely vulnerable to global food price fluctuations.
Liberia's agro-climatic conditions would be able to support a vibrant agricultural sector and act as an engine for poverty reduction and hunger eradication. However, the country still faces overwhelming reconstruction and development challenges following half of a century of political instability including two brutal consecutive civil wars. Agricultural production is still the lowest in West Africa and road infrastructure is poorly developed or was destroyed during the conflict. Sixty-four percent ofLiberia's 3.5 million citizens are poor and lack access to basic services including education and health facilities. Under-employment is extremely high at over 60 percent. As a consequence, food insecurity and malnutrition are rife.
Within the framework of the Food Security and Nutrition Monitoring System(FSNMS), established in 2008, the Government of Liberia carried out a nationwideComprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Survey (CFSNS) in 2010, the third CFSNS following those of 2006 and 2008. The survey, which aims to gather information to facilitate decision-making by the Government and the development and humanitarian community, is representative at county level making it ideal for targeting purposes and for designing appropriate sub-national food security and nutrition strategies. It was conducted between May and October 2010 during the hunger period in Liberia, when the rains are heavy and frequent, roads become inaccessible, limiting people's ability to access markets, and food stocks become depleted.