The Rural Development and Environment Officer of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Sierra Leone, Mr. Giampiero MUCI, WFP Country Representative, Gon Myers and Brac Country Director, Tapan Kumar Karmaker took a working visit to the World Food Programme (WFP) assisted Inland Land Valley Swamp (IVS) development projects in the Port Loko District.
The delegation spent the day interacting with project beneficiaries who provided feedback on how the intervention has benefitted their communities and improved food security at household level.
The IVS activities being implemented by BRAC is part of a 3 million Euros grants from the EU Food Facility (EUFF) to WFP in support of the Government of Sierra Leone’s Small Holders Commercialization Programme (SCP).
The EUFF has been designed to improve access to food for the poorest segments of the population. These include smallholder farmers engaged in rehabilitating key productive assets and agricultural infrastructure like inland valley swamps (IVS), tree crops and roads in the framework of the Government owned Smallholder Commercialization Programme. The objective is to use food to expand the area of rice cultivation, recover abandoned plantations to increase productivity, create access to market and other services through feeder roads rehabilitation and construct of storage facilities.
Improved income and longer term access to market are expected to result from a new complementary initiative to purchase rice locally through Purchase for Progress from smallholder farmers.
Addressing one of the communities he visited Mr. MUCI said that EU taxpayers, through the Delegation, are helping many families to put a meal on the table in remote communities in Northern Sierra Leone through Protection of Livelihoods for a Vulnerable Population Recovering from Conflict and Economic shocks.
The representative visited inland valley swamps, in a bid to ascertain the level of impact of EU’s assistance on the people of Sierra Leone.
He expressed delight in seeing enthusiastic women working side by side with men in the farming fields and stated that the EU has been a friend of Sierra Leone for over forty years supporting health, education and infrastructure. But the priority to support agriculture, he said, is to make life easy for the farmers.
Brac is closely working with farmer groups at Mafinder, Momoya, Karefey and Lunsar villages in the Port Loko District training them in new farming techniques including swamp development and marketing.
Yenoh Bangura married with three kids in her thirties lives in Mafinder village which is among one of the most deprived communities in Northern Sierra Leone whose life has been transformed through farming.
“Before the intervention of Brac we could only cultivate a small area and the harvest was always poor due to flooding and rodents. Now we have been able to cultivate 26 acres of Swampland and are expecting a bumper harvest. I hope to finish my house with the proceeds from this harvest.”
There are thousands of such examples who have benefited from financial contributions by the European Union to WFP since 2010.
Tuesday October 01, 2013