Smallholder famers in Sierra Leone will be benefiting from a grant of about $12 million for the improvement of agricultural production and productivity.
This is part of the Small Holder Commercialisation Agribusiness Projects (SCADeP) grants of $55 million USD from the World Bank and DFID.
The Sierra Leone Agribusiness Development Fund (SLADF) has received $12 million USD, which they will be independently managed and utilised to promote small holder commercial farmers by fostering productivity business linkages between small farmers and selected agribusiness farms and other commodity off-takers in Sierra Leone.
KPMG, the international Development Advisory Services (IDAS), Africa has been appointed by the government and World Bank to ensure monitoring of the independent fund manager for the SLDF.
KPMG, on Thursday, launched the first competition of the SLADF at Bintumani Hotel, where Vidal Decker of KPMG small holder farmers to make use of the opportunity and further called for additional funds for the famers. He said they are expecting quality concept notes from them as this project is very important.
World Bank Country Manager, Perminda Brar, said the country has huge potential for an increase in agriculture, and this includes plenty land and water and hardworking people.
Stating that but the country is caught up in a circle of low income and output of agriculture because if you have constraints to access to finance, access to import, access to extension services and export, “this has cause to low income and output”.
Brar disclosed that recently 400 people were interviewed and amongst the finding the greatest priority for all Sierra Leoneans where they will want the Bank to work on is that of food security as this is an area that is faced with serious challenge.
Last year, the World Food Programme survey came to the same conclusion. Food security is a huge concern. That is why this project is important. It aims to address some of these issues and focus on certain food chains which are oil palm, cocoa, rice and poultry.
Brar maintained, “The profitability of the four chains “as that the return of oil palm is 27%, on cocoa the rate of return is in the range of 51%. And the most profitable activity to be engaged in now is poultry. On average, the rate of return of poultry is over 50-100%, so it is highly profitable that is why we are happy to support in this project”.
Deputy Mininster of Agriculture Lovell Thomas said, “The project is key to the development of agriculture and with this support government aims to reach out to farmers.
He said with this funding farmers yield will increase with quality of process and products and that they wants the fund to be managed in an independent and transparent manner to ensure the objectives of the fund are realised.
Team Leader, SLADF, Hugh Kweku Fraser, said, “the fund is meant to be a catalyst to spur investment in the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone. This is the first call of what is expected to benefit up to 50,000 smallholder farmers so we are looking forward to receiving high quality, Concept Notes with innovative ideas to boost agricultural production”.
By Betty Milton
Friday March 17, 2017.