As IFAD Splashes US$72.6m Windfall For Farmers


By Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura

The Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development for both west and central Africa (IFAD), Lisandro Martin has disclosed that IFAD has decided to support farmers in Sierra Leone by dishing the sum US$70 million for the year 2019-2021.

Mr. Martino stated that the Fund will double its support to the country’s Agricultural implementation compared to the 2016-2018 allocation of US$21.4 million because of the robust performance of the country’s agricultural programmes in recent years.

He continued that since 1980, IFAD has helped in financing nine rural development programmes and projects in Sierra Leone with a total cost of US$321.2m with an IFAD investment of US$165.419. These projects and programmes, he said, have benefited some 547,500 rural households.

Mr. Martin maintained that the project financing includes US$5.9 million loan and US$5.9 million grant from IFAD, adding that the project will be co-financed by the private sector, the government of Sierra Leone and the beneficiaries of the project.

He maintained that another additional  co-financing of US$9.2 million is being asked for by the adaptation fund , adding that in the coming months an additional US$40.8 millions will be made available under the performance-based allocation system cycle for Sierra Leone covering the period 2019-2012, which, he said, amounts to US$72.6 million.

The recent financing agreement of the Agricultural Value-chain Development Project (AVIDP) was witnessed and countersigned by the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, the Master Farmer and the Coordinator of the National Programme Coordination Unit (NPCU), Mohamed Tejan Kella, the general overseers of the project.

Mohamed Tejan Kella said that Sierra Leone’s economy is predominantly a rural economy with two-thirds of the population, residing in the rural areas, with agriculture as their main means of survival and the largest contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He furthered that the AVDP will invest in agricultural mechanization, irrigation and water management and strengthen what he described “climate change proof” rural infrastructure, the rehabilitation of feeder roads and ware houses to improve produce drying and storage capacity.

He added that it will also build capacity of small holder farmers through farmer field schools and provide them with credit facilities for their investments in small holder farms.

The NCPU Coordinator revealed that the project will target about 34,000 vulnerable rural household that will improve food and nutrition security and also multiply the incomes of small holder farmers by modernizing agriculture, increase production and develop the market.