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Liberia Trader Survey Report Round 6

  • Special Report
  • Liberia
  • February 13, 2015
Liberia Trader Survey Report Round 6

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  • Key Messages
  • Preface

  • Preface

    Between the weeks of November 3 and January 19, 2015 FEWS NET worked with Mobile Accord (GeoPoll) to carry out six rounds of SMS-based trader surveys in Liberia and Sierra Leone to gather information on the status of market activities and operating costs in areas made inaccessible by the Ebola epidemic. Liberia and Sierra Leone are FEWS NET remote monitoring countries. In remote monitoring countries, analysts typically work from a nearby regional office, relying on a network of partners for information. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than FEWS NET presence countries The SMS-based survey results serve to corroborate key informant and partner reports on market activities and serve as inputs to FEWS NET’s integrated food security analysis on the impacts of the Ebola outbreak. The first round of data collection identified a sample of traders to monitor and some fundamental characteristics (Table 1). During the second through sixth rounds, the survey inquired about current market activities.  

    Key Messages
    • This report provides a summary of findings from a FEWS NET trader survey using a SMS-based platform through GeoPoll during the week of January 19, 2015 (sixth round of data collection). The sample includes almost 300 small to large-scale traders across 14 counties in Liberia (Figure 1).

    • Over 35 percent of respondents were cassava traders, followed by palm oil (29 percent), imported rice (22 percent), and local rice (13 percent). This distribution reflects the structure of agricultural markets in Liberia, with higher concentration and barriers to entry to imported rice trading (FEWS NET, USAID-BEST).  

    • During the week of January 19th, almost 23 percent of survey respondents reported that weekly markets operated at reduced levels (Figure 2). However, only six traders reported weekly market closures. 

    • Although it is currently the post-harvest period, 25 percent of traders indicated that market supplies of main commodities declined since the previous data collection round in early January. Between 25 and 40 percent of traders in areas worst affected by the Ebola outbreak reported that food availability on the markets they serve was insufficient to meet local needs (Table 5). 

    • High transport costs was the most frequently cited reason for reduced market supplies (Figure 6). Over 15 percent of traders reported that cash crop sale opportunities had declined since early December.

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