A new project through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Sierra Leone aims to improve rural poverty through techniques in modernizing agriculture. This Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (AVDP) will implement food and nutrition safety initiatives, raise farmer incomes, and increase production to improve nearly 34,000 rural homes in Sierra Leone.
Contributing 62 per cent of Sierra Leone’s labour force, 59 per cent of GDP, and 22 per cent of export revenue, agriculture plays a crucial role in the national economy. Despite its role as an economical powerhouse, agricultural production takes place in poverty-concentrated, rural areas. The core goals of AVDP align with the national Government and address issues of rice self-sufficiency, crop diversification, and rural poverty reduction.
According to an IFAD Communications Officer, David Florentine Paqui, ‘AVDP will invest in agricultural mechanization, irrigation and water management. It will strengthen and climate-proof rural infrastructure through the rehabilitation of feeder roads and warehouses to improve product drying and storage capacity. It will also build the capacity of smallholder farmers through farmer field schools and provide them with credit for their investments in smallholder farms. At least 40 per cent of the project’s participants will be women and youth.’
‘Project financing includes a $5.9 million loan and $5.9 million grant from IFAD. The project will be cofinanced by the private sector ($1.4 million), the Government of Sierra Leone ($8.1 million) and the beneficiaries themselves ($1.4 million). Moreover, additional cofinancing ($9.2 million) is being requested from the Adaptation Fund. Over the next few months, an additional $40.8 million will be made available under the performance-based allocation system cycle for Sierra Leone, covering the period 2019-2011, thereby reaching the total financing amount of $72.6 million.’
For more information, read the full press release here.