Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – A delegation from the European Union (EU), in collaboration with the National Authorising Office (NAO), recently wrapped up a two-day inspection of the Boosting Agriculture and Food Security Project (BAFS) in Kenema and Kailahun Districts. The four-year project, funded by the EU’s 11th European Development Fund, is reaching its culmination, with Solidaridad West Africa and The Cotton Tree Foundation as grantees.
Supervised and implemented through cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the NAO, and the EU Delegation, the BAFS Project aims to enhance food sufficiency for farmers and Sierra Leoneans. During the inspection, beneficiaries in both districts shared their experiences of positive livelihood transformations resulting from interventions like cashew farming, climate-smart agricultural practices, and improved access to finance through the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) scheme.
In Kenema, beneficiaries expressed gratitude to Solidaridad and the EU for their support, showcasing evidence of successful coco farms and intercropping practices. The BAFS Project, through Solidaridad, has impacted the lives of nearly 8,000 smallholder farmers across the 13 districts in which they operate.
The paramount chief of Malema Chiefdom, a beneficiary, commended Solidaridad and partners, stating, “We are now getting more money from our cocoa than ever before.” The project has contributed to the sustainability of farmers, with efforts focused on training farmers to produce quality cocoa to determine competitive prices in both international and local markets.
Foday Turay from the Sierra Leone Agriculture and Research Institute (SLARI) in Kenema highlighted ongoing work on tree crops such as cocoa, coffee, and cashew. With Solidaridad’s intervention, new varieties capable of higher yields are being introduced, benefiting farmers.
John Christian Abu-Kpawoh, Project Officer at the EU Delegation overseeing the BAFS project, expressed satisfaction with the level of implementation and resource utilization during the inspection. He emphasized the EU’s responsibility to ensure that funds are implemented as planned, yielding positive results.
Andrew Kojo Morrison, Country Representative of Solidaridad in Sierra Leone, outlined the project’s overarching goal of reducing poverty and food insecurity through better governance, improved living conditions, and higher incomes. The BAFS project focuses on bringing climate-smart technology to farmers, training over 7,800 farmers in 13 districts on climate-smart interventions for cashew, coffee, and cocoa production.
Morrison emphasized the project’s success in training farmers and national NGOs and CBOs to implement climate-smart practices, contributing to increased production and productivity in Sierra Leone’s farming systems. MJB/20/11/2023