Government secures multi-million dollar funding for agricultural productivity
His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, is pleased to announce that the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) has approved a request from the Government of Sierra Leone for Â fifty million dollars (US$50 million) in support of the Governmentâ€™s Smallholder Commercialisation Programme. Sierra Leone is one of the first five countries to benefit from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme funding.
The Smallholder Commercialisation Programme, whose motto is â€˜Farm For Businessâ€™, will support small-scale farmers to move from subsistence to commercial farming and to connect them to markets. In particular, the support will help farmers, through farmer-based organizations, to produce more, and also to process and market their products effectively. This will include subsidized inputs such as seeds and planting materials, fertilizers, rice mills, power tillers, stores and drying floors. Also key to the programme is the rehabilitation and expansion of infrastructure such as irrigation and feeder roads, improving access to finance as well as providing social protection and productivity safety nets.
With the pilot programme already underway and showing signs of success, the President will be officially launching the programme on 31st July 2010 in Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone. The Ministry of Agriculture will work out a detailed programme for the launch country-wide.
In another development, the Islamic Development Bank has approved fifteen million dollars (US$15 million) to expand the Mattru Oil Palm Plantations and to build a processing plant therein. Furthermore, the European Commission has approved sixteen million Euros (16 million Euros) to support the production, processing and marketing of cocoa, coffee and cashew in the country.
The public will recall that the President has publicly declared that agriculture is now his topmost priority after the significant progress made in the energy sector. The aforementioned very positive developments are a result of governmentâ€™s avowed commitment and efforts to make agriculture the â€˜engineâ€™ for socio-economic growth and development in Sierra Leone.
His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, would like to extend profound thanks to all the countries and agencies that have contributed to the GAFSP funding, and to all our development partners, the private sector, the Parliament of Sierra Leone, farmers and civil society who have contributed in diverse ways to these important developments.
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