Liberia is classified as both a least-developed country and a low-income food-deficit country. With a population of approximately 3.7 million, the nation ranked 174 out of 187 in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index. Political upheaval has dominated Liberia’s recent history, beginning with a coup d’état in 1980 that ousted the civilian government and ushered in a military regime. Widespread discontent with this regime, however, sparked a rebellion a decade later, leading to prolonged conflict that finally ended in 2003. The first post-war president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, came to power in 2006 and was re-elected in November 2011.
Poverty and food insecurity are high across the country and particularly acute in Liberia’s rural areas. The government-led 2012 Comprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Survey (CFSNS) found that every fifth household in Liberia is food insecure, with the highest rates found in Bomi (55 percent), Grand Kru (46 percent) and River Cess (45 percent) counties. Food insecurity and poverty are strongly correlated, as poor rural households with informal livelihoods tend to be the most food insecure. The report also indicated that the chronic malnutrition rate remains high nationally (36 percent), and infant and young child feeding practices are poor.
Despite these challenges, the government continues to demonstrate a commitment to national recovery efforts. The first Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS I), which articulated the government’s vision for sustainable growth and development, is currently in the implementation phase. PRS II, now under development, will cover 2012 - 2015 and builds on the achievements of PRS I.