As SCADeP award grants for agribusiness development…

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Deputy Agric. Minister urges awardees to work with smallholder farmers

June 18, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

man

The Smallholder Commercialisation and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) has awarded grants worth millions of United States Dollars to four agribusiness enterprises to help improve agribusiness in the country.

The four awarding enterprises are expected to help produce more foodstuffs, especially rice, by working directly with smallholder farmers across the country.

Funds were provided by the World Bank through the Sierra Leone Agribusiness Development Fund (SLADF) under the SCADeP project.

During the award ceremony hosted in the conference room of the ministry on Thursday, June 14, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Samking Koihinah Braima, urged the awardees to work closely with the smallholder farmers because they were the direct beneficiaries of the project.

He said the management of the funds would be crucial to the overall implementation of the SCADeP project and called for an inclusive process as well as safeguards in the utilisation of the grants.

He spoke about the need for commercialised farming across the country under the ‘New Direction’ agenda and urged the awardees to utilise the grants received for the intended purpose within the timeline set.

SCADeP Project Coordinator, Sulaiman Sesay, congratulated the awarding enterprises and urged them to make good use of the grants. He said the process of awarding the grants started way back in March 2017, adding that the focus is on smallholder farmers.

Sesay explained that the rationale behind establishing the Sierra Leone Agribusiness Development Fund was to address the crucial constraints faced by farmers to access market.

He emphasised that the awarding agribusinesses would be there to facilitate services to smallholder farmers and that they should not consider it a favour but work with them to achieve success.

He thanked KPMG, who acted as an independent fund manager, for their work so far, and the World Bank for making available the funds.

KPMG Team Lead, Kweku Frazer, stated that at the beginning of the process seventy-three (73) applications were received but it was streamlined to nine because of the criteria set.

He explained that fifty-six (56) applications were evaluated but an independent assessment panel brought it down to thirty (30), which was taken to Fund Advisory Committee. He added that eighteen (18) applications were recommended by the committee for the second phase of the process.

“The process of selecting the awardees may have been slow because we needed to be sure that whosoever is awarded has the potential to do a good job,” he said.