The Howard G. Buffet Foundation's Focus Area: Agriculture
The Howard G. Buffet Foundation's Involvement: The Howard G Buffett Foundation (HGBF) is committed to working in conflict and post-conflict countries. In Liberia, HGBF has worked with partner organizations, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the World Food Programme and CARE. Between 2007 and 2009, HGBF commissioned a pilot project with IRC to assess whether no-till farming techniques could be leveraged to create sustainable, environmentally-sound and economically viable agricultural solutions for conflict affected communities. Similarly, Catholic Relief Services received an HGBF grant to evaluate the state of conservation agriculture in Liberia and assess the potential for bringing this model to scale. In September 2008, HGBF was one of two foundations to pledge initial support for the World Food Programme’s innovative Purchase for Progress (P4P) model. P4P enables the World Food Programme – the world’s largest purchaser of food for humanitarian operations – to support smallholder farmer efforts to produce and market rice, sorghum, maize and other staple crops. In addition to providing poor farmers with income generation opportunities, P4P also empowers its key constituents, transforming them from market novices into informed sellers; the initiative links farmers to governmental and non-governmental organizations that provide crucial training in organizational development and management. P4P launched in Liberia in February 2009, with a large commitment from HGBF to focus specifically on helping 5,600 smallholder farmers – the majority of whom are women – produce and market rice, the country’s main food crop. P4P Liberia also provides technical capacity in fortified cassava processing.
HGBF also supports two current Liberia projects with CARE. In 2009, the Foundation committed to the three-year “Revitalizing Communities through Conservation Agriculture” project in Bong County. The goal is to revitalize agriculture and to improve food security and income, in an environmentally sustainable way, for 4,000 directly benefiting farming households in Bong County, Liberia. Also launched in 2009 the “Sustainable Access to Water and Sanitation” project aims to improve the health, lives, and sustainable livelihoods of vulnerable and war-affected men, women, and children- a total of 12,790 individuals in Bong County – through an integrated water and sanitation program.
In 2010, HGBF made a three-year commitment to fund the Program for Africa’s Seed System (PASS) in Liberia. The main goal of PASS in Liberia is to develop Liberia’s National Seed Policy as part of the long-term government strategy, moving away from NGO-sponsored emergency relief seed production and promotion toward a private sector seed system. Focus crops for PASS intervention include upland rice, hybrid maize, and cassava.