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SCADeP Okays rehabilitation of feeder roads in Bombali, Tonkolili

October 9, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

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SCADeP Project Coordinator, Sulaiman Sesay explaining the rationale behind the  rehabilitation of feeder roads, while Bombali District Council Chair, John S. Koroma -looks on

SCADeP Project Coordinator has on Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday October 5, 2017 officially handed over contractors and a consulting firm to the district council officials in Bombali and Tonkolili ahead of the commencement of the rehabilitation of feeder roads in selected areas in the districts.

In the Bombali district, Kam Enterprise will rehabilitate 6km road from Patebana to Rolaya, 12km from Kainendeh to Kaindema and 6km from Masongbo to Karafay Loko, while Maksam Construction Company will aid the rehabilitation of 14.2km of feeder road from Mayorpoh to Mathamp Maraka in the Tonkolili district for the next five months.

The lack of feeder roads, especially in remote areas in the provinces has been a stumbling block for famers to take their products to the market and make ends meet out of what they harvest.

To alleviate the suffering of farmers, especially those in hard-to-reach communities, in January this year, the Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP), was unveiled at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown, seeking to promote agricultural productivity through improved access to market and finance for farmers.

Being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and other key line ministries, with a $55million funding from the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the project would help to build links between smallholder farmers and selected agribusiness firms and other firms, who buy from small holders in the country.

The 415million support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) will fund the rehabilitation of over 500 km of feeder roads in selected areas in the country, with high potentials for agricultural production, processing and marketing.

In his statement, Project Coordinator, Sulaiman S. Sesay, reiterated that the objective of the project is to promote smallholder commercialization by fostering productive business linkages between small farmers and selected agribusiness firms and other commodity off-takers in Sierra Leone.

He said the goal of the project would be achieved through support for interventions aimed at improving agricultural productivity and access to markets for farmers, while disclosing that key value chains including rice, cocoa, palm oil and poultry will be supported under the project.

“We want our farmers through this project to enhance their production, ability and access to market. But we believe that we can only achieve that effectively if we are able to link our small farmers to more established agribusinesses,” he said.

He said the approach of the project can support farmers to grow well based on their output and also serve as market for smallholder farmers.

According to him, many a time, farmers produce foodstuff but encounter difficulty in bringing those produce to the market, which was why in the design of the project, they included the rehabilitation of feeder roads to improve on the access from the farm to the market.

He stated that under the Rural and Private Sector Development project which was funded by the World Bank, a couple of feeder roads were rehabilitated, disclosing that out of a target of about 100km of feeder roads, over 950 were rehabilitated.

Mr. Sesay said a few of the roads were not completed on the stipulated time which culminated to the termination of the contract of the contractors.

“During consultations with stakeholders in the design of this project, we realized the need to complete the rehabilitation of those unfinished roads. Our appeal was heeded to by our donors to provide support to complete the roads,” he explained.

He urged the contractors and the consulting firm- Innovative Solutions to work closely with the communities during the rehabilitation work and also ensure that they employ some of the community members for the manual work.

Chairmen of the two councils – John Shanghai Koroma from the Bombali District and Alusine K. Sesay  from Tonkolili District Council, welcomed the move by SCADeP to rehabilitate feeder roads, especially those that were not completed under the RPSD project.

They pledged to monitor the rehabilitation work unto it logical completion and urged contractors to do a good job.

Also, representatives from the contractors assured SCADeP and other stakeholders that they would do quality work within the stipulated time and also work very closely with the community people during the rehabilitation work.