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Sierra Leone News: 2, 900 households benefitted from FAO’s post-Ebola recovery support

FAOA total of 2, 900 (two thousand nine hundred) farming households in eight districts directly benefited from the Post-Ebola Agriculture Sector Recovery Project in Sierra Leone through agricultural inputs, refresher training on the use and management of agricultural machinery and revolving capital.
The project was implemented from January to December 2015 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) with funds from the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) to help reduce the adverse effects of the Ebola Disease outbreak on smallholder farmers.
The ASTF is an innovative Africa-led fund to support Africa for Africa development initiatives. Its main goal is to strengthen food security across the continent by assisting countries and their regional organizations to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, eliminate rural poverty and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner.
According to the FAO Representative, Dr. Gabriel Rugalema, the overall objective of the ASTF project in the country was to support 16 Agricultural Business Centers (ABCs) in recapitalization through the provision of funds to revive their Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs); revamping the processing units including repairs of agricultural machinery and establishing seed banks at community level to support production in subsequent seasons so that the farming households that were affected by the disease outbreak can return to their normal livelihood activities.
Explaining the categories set for selecting the beneficiaries, Dr. Rugalema explained that the project considered districts in which the Ebola started and were under quarantine for a long period; those in which Ebola was not big but its other impacts including movement restriction were high; and the third category of districts were those in which Ebola arrived later but had borne a huge impact both in terms of prevalence and disruption of livelihoods.
As a result of the above criteria, the project was implemented in Kailahun, Kenema, Koinadugu, Kambia, Port Loko, Bombali, Bo, and Moyamba Districts.
“A total of 68 (sixty-eight) Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) benefited from the project and the support has improved the livelihood of the rural farmers by enabling them to pay school fees for their children on time, address other domestic bills and also use the proceeds to contribute to their usual revolving funds, “ he stated.
He explained that twenty farming groups were recapitalized in preparation for the first and second cropping seasons, 31 (thirty-one) machine operators were trained on the use and management of agricultural equipment, 751 (seven hundred and fifty-one) assorted parts of agricultural equipment for 6 selected ABCs were repaired and installed.
He stated that the support will increase production and diversification of products as many beneficiaries will be interested in other forms of livelihood activities.
It is expected that the support will have a multiplier effect on other communities as cash injected will boost economic activities and bring income to their homes.
Monday April 04, 2016

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