GROW: Community Oil Palm Outgrower Scheme Operational Model and Financial Plan Development

GROW is a private sector development initiative operating in Liberia to promote pro-poor economic growth and stability through partnerships with the private sector.

This assignment is to develop a robust Oil Palm Outgrower Scheme Operational Model and Financial Plan for Liberia, informed by best practice and lessons learned from oil palm outgrower schemes in different parts of the world.

  • GROW Liberia, managed by Adam Smith International (ASI), is a SIDA funded project.
  • LTS is contracted by ASI for this specific assignment, working with Greenstar Resources.
  • LTS will develop the Outgrower Scheme Operational Model and Financial Plan, with operating procedures conforming to RSPO P&Cs.

By harnessing private sector growth in the oil palm sector, this assignment hopes to substantially increase incomes and employment opportunities for poor women, men and youth.


The Liberian oil palm sector is of vital importance nationally and is dominated by multinational oil palm producers that have been granted significant concessions by the Government of Liberia (GoL). In the Concession Agreements, the GoL has committed itself to raising development finance to establish outgrower schemes. However, little progress has been made in promoting investment and raising finance for community oil palm outgrower schemes since the four large international concessions began operations in Liberia in 2010. This is a systemic constraint to smallholder farmers benefiting from growth in Liberia’s oil palm industry.


LTS is responsible for:

1) Development an Oil Palm Outgrower Scheme Operational Model that will address issues including: land tenure and user rights; selection criteria; plantation management and production training; financial training for participants; institutional and governance structures; integrated agricultural production, sustainable forestry management and conservation.

2) Creation of FPIC Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) / adaptations to Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) guidelines that conform to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Principles and Criteria for the Outgrower Scheme implementation.

3) Develop an Outgrower Scheme Financial Plan linked to the Outgrower Scheme Operational Model.

4) Identifying and making initial contact with potential finances to access financing for the Oil Palm Outgrower Scheme programme implementation.

 Value and benefits

The resultant Outgrower Scheme Operational Model and Financial Plan will take into account Liberia’s unique cultural and land tenure context.

GROW’s objective is substantially increased incomes and employment opportunities for a large number of poor women, men and youth, created through agricultural market system change.

Rebecca Adler

MSc with Distinction, Environmental Sustainability, University of Edinburgh, 2011; BA, International Relations, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, 2004

Rebecca has a solid understanding of programme management, framework management and coordination as well as technical expertise in natural resource and forest management. In her role at LTS, Rebecca supports a variety of initiatives, including several FLEGT programmes, such as the on-going support to the Liberia VPA programme. She is well versed in providing support and expertise to complex forestry programmes as she has previously managed several long-term multi-million dollar USAID environmental management programmes. In addition, she is experienced in framework management and coordination, having supported activities and call down contracts for the USAID PLACE IQC. In these positions, she frequently managed complex budgets, developed technical field based activities and maintained relationships with key partners and stakeholders. In addition, she frequently travelled to projects and contributed to the development of workplans, logical frameworks and performance monitoring plans and created programme reports and communication materials. Most recently, Ms. Adler has completed an MSc at the University of Edinburgh where her studies focused on analyzing international policies related to forestry management, climate change and environmental management. In addition, she studied political science at University of Paris VIII and is fluent in French.

Tillem Burlace

MSc Ecological Economics, University of Edinburgh, 2014. BCom (Economics), Deakin University, 2005. BA (Sociology), Deakin University, 2005.

Tillem is a senior consultant at LTS who works on applied economics. She previously worked for the Economics Branch in the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment in Australia as an economist advising on a range of innovative market-based mechanisms, including trialling the native vegetation exchange – a smart market mechanism for the native vegetation (biodiversity) offset market. Tillem also worked in Vietnam as a Climate Change Officer with the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development where she prepared technical manuals on gender and climate change mainstreaming and undertook baseline surveys for a disaster risk reduction programme. Prior to this she was an economist with the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance providing analysis and advice to the Treasurer on areas including climate change, energy and forestry issues, and the Commonwealth Government’s emissions trading scheme. Tillem is passionate about finding solutions to the complex social and environmental challenges facing our world. She is particularly interested in the nexus between development and the environment and finding solutions that balance social development, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Tillem has experience in working on projects in Indonesia, Malawi, Cameroon and Liberia.

Liberia-National REDD+ Strategy Consultation

The overall objective is to support Liberia to design a socially and environmentally sound national strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) that is prepared and validated by national stakeholders.

  • $477,000 contract value, contracted by Liberia’s FDA.
  • Implementation is in partnership with NIRAS A/S.
  • Project has provided in-depth analytical work so that the FDA and other stakeholders can consider strategic options for the REDD+ Strategy.


An estimated 20% of Liberia’s forested area was lost between 2000 and 2014. Since 2007, Liberia has been engaging in REDD+ readiness processes by developing a Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP). Going forward, the country needs a national strategy to ensure that REDD+ activities are implemented in a coherent manner that complies with REDD+ requirements at UNFCCC level.


LTS has supported REDD+ stakeholders with in-depth analytical work to assess and validate preliminary strategic options for the REDD+ Strategy, including

  • Quantitative analysis of the different land use options in forested and mixed agricultural lands for development of the national REDD+ Strategy.
  • Cost-benefit analyses of different proposed REDD+ Strategy options (opportunity, implementation, transaction cost).
  • Policy, legal and institutional analysis of domestic and international frameworks for REDD+.

Preparation of a roadmap for the implementation of the strategy.

Value and benefits

A draft national REDD+ strategy and implementation Roadmap will guide the FDA and REDD+ stakeholders in the next steps of REDD+ readiness.

The opportunities for conserving the carbon stocks in concessions and proposed Protected Areas are substantial.

Final Report

Technical Annex A – Liberia’s national REDD+ strategy

Technical Annex B – Liberia’s REDD+ roadmap

Technical Annex C – Forest cover and land use analysis

Technical Annex D – REDD+ strategy options

Technical Annex E – Cost-benefit analysis of REDD+ strategy options

Technical Annex F – Policy, legal and institutional framework analysis

Technical Annex G – Consultation Report  

Supporting the Implementation of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement

This assignment aimed to contribute to the implementation of the Liberia Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with a specific focus on the legality assurance system (LAS) related measures in 2011-2012.

The key objectives were, in cooperation with the Liberian stakeholders, to make necessary preparations for establishing and operating two new Forestry Development Authority (FDA) units called i) Liberia Verification Department (LVD), that will be responsible for the legality verification functions and the Chain of Custody System (CoCS), and ii) Liberia Licensing Department (LLD), that will issue FLEGT licenses to the export consignments; draft procedures and plan data management systems of the LAS; assist in integrating in the LAS all timber products identified in the VPA Annex I and timber sources as identified in the VPA Annex II; and support the relevant regulatory reforms.

The outputs achieved consist of descriptions of institutional structures of FDA and various elements of the LAS, draft procedures for an operational LAS, terms of references, tender documents, cost estimates, work plans, workshops and administrative progress reports. LTS’ experts worked to ensure that there are a solid platform and state of preparedness for practical implementation of the LAS, in particular for an External Service Provider (ESP) that has been contracted on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis to run the LVD on behalf of the FDA from 2013 onwards. It is expected that the LLD operations will be set up by (and within) the FDA with support of a technical advisor arranged through the ESP or another body. LTS also provided support for Liberian stakeholders to undertake the following activities:

  • Establishment of institutional structures for LAS implementation
  • Legality verification
  • Development of a chain of custody system
  • FLEGT Licensing

Identification of a Global Climate Change Alliance Project in Liberia

The objective of the mission was to prepare a draft logframe and draft Identification Fiche (IF) for a project to be financed under the GCCA in Liberia: Reducing Emissions through Sustainable Wood Energy. The expert consulted with the government, the EU Delegation and relevant stakeholders; critically reviewed the various options emerging; investigated and helped prioritise possible areas of intervention in line with the national strategies and the five GCCA priority areas and the issue of absorption capacity of the Liberian Institutions; helped select and define the focus and scope of the possible programme or project which would in turn help identifying the specific institutions to be involved; helped select and define aid modalities for the country level programme; and focused on assessing and/or strengthening ownership and sustainability (e.g. institutional capacity, complementary actions that may have gone beyond the present action but could be needed in the future, possible replication, support to national development planning and budgeting processes, linkages with the National Indicative Programme and focal areas supported by the EU in the medium or long-term, etc.)

The expected results of the project were: national assessment of wood energy consumption and impact on national objectives to reduce emissions and promote adaptation measures; development of policy and regulations for management of the wood energy sub sector; reduction of demand for fuelwood/charcoal by substitution with alternative energy forms and by improving efficiency; an increase in sustainable supply of fuelwood/charcoal by promoting agri-forestry and fuelwood plantations; and improved coordination of biomass energy related initiatives and greater capacity to manage this issue amongst Liberian institutions. LTS prepared a concise preliminary report of findings and a presentation on the objectives, results and activities identified. In addition to this, LTS drafted a technical report presenting findings and recommendations. The structure of the report reflected the specific issues presented the preliminary Log Frame and Identification Fiche (PIF). A mission report was prepared that incorporated the comments received on the draft technical report. This included i) a reviewed Log Frame; ii) a reviewed PIF; iii) the annexes of the PIF (including compulsory checklists on environment and gender); and iv) a short description of the activities undertaken during this assignment, the mission’s agenda, stakeholders that were met and principal findings.

LTS involvement in the identification phase process involved review of documents, including published policies and studies and unpublished, internal reviews and plans; consultation with Liberian and international organisations (29 one-to-one meetings plus a group meeting with FDA and a stakeholder meeting); investigation of strategic and project-level options for a GCCA intervention; and circulation of a “concept note” to develop project and to establish a consensus around the action amongst Liberian agencies, donors and NGOs.

Analysis of the Fiscal Regime for Forestry in Liberia

Since 2006, the Government of Liberia has undertaken a comprehensive review of its forestry sector, aiming to achieve a world standard for transparency, good governance, equitable sharing of forestry benefits, respect for local communities and sustainable development. New forest use mechanisms have been introduced and companies were cleared in 2009 to operate under these arrangements.

The purpose of this evidence-based policy assignment was to offer advice on the appropriateness of the current fiscal framework for forestry, and determine what, if any, reforms would enable the sector to develop. The LTS economic and policy analysis had a particular focus on up-front payments of Land Rental Bid Premium and provided the Government with options and scenarios that to inform the President on the final decision on the Bill passed by the National Legislature. LTS undertook a benchmarking of Liberia’s fiscal regime against those of Ghana, Gabon, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic and conducted scenario modelling to develop economic and financial models to evaluate Liberian forest projects and investments.

West Africa Forest Strategy

The Upper Guinea High Forest in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana represents a diversity of ecosystems made up of savannas, semi-deciduous tropical forests and tropical rain forests. Loss of forest cover and degradation of forested land continues at a rapid pace. The West African Forest Strategy (WAFS) formulation process required an assessment of the sector to provide the World Bank with strategic direction aimed at creating a sustainable and productive forestry sector that fuels growth. The WAFS contributed to the fine tuning of a wider African Forestry Strategy and assisted the World Bank in consolidating its support to forestry in the region and aimed to provide a more systematic engagement on forestry issues at a regional level. LTS undertook a forest sector analysis using a gap model framework, a policy options analysis and developed the strategy and financing instruments. Please click here to read the report.

European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Facility

LTS was involved in 5 frameworks agreements: Forest Governance; Capacity Building; Markets and Demand Side Measures; Legality Assurance Systems; and Monitoring Voluntary Partnerships Agreement (VPA) Impacts. The European Forest Institute’s EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Facility has been established to support the European Commission in implementing their Action Plan for FLEGT setting out a range of measures available to the European Union and its Member States to tackle illegal logging in the world’s forests.