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Sierra Leone News: New project to build employability for youth in Agric sector

ATVET participants

As a strategy to achieve agriculture-based growth and food security in Africa, policy makers, experts and heads of technical vocational institutions have on Wednesday 6th February 2019 held a dialogue meeting on the implementation of Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) project in Sierra Leone. The ATVET project, according to Abraham Sarfo, Consultant, ATVET project focuses on contributing to a professionalised, productive agricultural sector. ATVET, he pointed out offers a solution to Africa’s lack of trained and qualified smallholder farmers and to realise the African agricultural sector’s potential for employment, food security and sustainable economic growth. Sarfo further underscored the importance of enhancing the capacity of agricultural vocational education for African countries to meet agricultural production targets and reduce rural unemployment. In many African countries, he pointed out, the agricultural sector has not been sufficiently modernised to help reduce poverty and boost economic growth as farmers lack the necessary skills, qualifications and access to training to professionalise and expand agricultural production, processing and marketing. “The ATVET ensures training and continuing education opportunities that are geared primarily towards smallholder farmers and young people in rural areas. ATVET is thus creating prospects for Africa’s young and growing population.” Sarfo stated, “Through competency-based training along agricultural value chains, students are equipped with the required skills to meet labour-market needs as majority of the workforces that are smallholder farmers without any formal or informal training.” Giving an overview of the project, Geoffory Gantoli, Program Advisor, GIZ, said that the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has been the framework for action for agricultural transformation on the continent since 2003. The programme, he stated is an initiative by the African Union (AU) and supports the member states in increasing investment and productivity in the agricultural sector. Gantoli noted the heterogeneous nature of Africa’s agricultural sector pointing out focus of the ATVET project that aim to develop training curricula that are both tailored to countries’ skills needs and based on the following high-priority value chains. He added, “It aims to achieve agricultural growth rates in order to promote food security and economic development in Africa. The project contributes to the professionalization and certification of smallholder farmers and future agri-preneurs. The intervention thereby helps to ensure that future employment opportunities are sustainable, planned for and labour market-oriented.”

SV/6/2/19

By Sylvia Villa

Thursday February 07 2019.

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