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Le210bn EU boost to Agriculture and Food Security

September 22, 2016

On 19 September 2016, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, and the European Union Ambassador signed a Financing Agreement for “Boosting Agriculture and Food Security with a view to strengthening the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone.

The trio of ministries and European Union signed the Financing Agreement to support the agriculture sector for a four year period, amounting to EUR 35 million (equivalent to Le210 billion). The programme, entitled “Boosting Agriculture and Food Security (BAFS)”, is financed under the 11th European Development Fund.

The BAFS programme aims to build-up a sustainable, diversified and commercial agricultural sector, ensuring food self-sufficiency, increasing exports and creating job opportunities for Sierra Leonean women and men, said a release from the EU delegation in Sierra Leone. “The main objectives of the programme are: increasing agricultural productivity, promoting commercial agriculture, and promoting sustainable land use and improving agricultural research as well as promoting institutional capacity building and sector policy reform. The BAFS programme is in line with the National Sustainable Agriculture Development Plan (NSADP) 2010-2030 and the Agenda for Prosperity.”

The release quoted Minister of Finance and Economic Development and National Authorising Officer of the EDF, Mr. Momodu Kargbo, to have remarked after the signing ceremony that: “the focus of this programme Boosting Agriculture and Food Security, which includes, among others, promoting commercial agriculture is in the right direction as it will contribute to Government’s objective of transforming the agriculture sector to improve food security, increase employment and reduce poverty.”

He added: “On behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, I would like to express sincere appreciation to the European Union for their continued support of the agriculture sector and other critical sectors of the economy including infrastructure”.

Also, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Prof. Monty Jones, is reported to have stated thus: “On behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone, I hereby declare that I am deeply overwhelmed with appreciation and sincere gratitude for our noble EU partners in development that offers this gift in the name of grant with no strings attached of their tax payers money as an immense contribution to the Agenda for Prosperity (A4P). I want to assure that in the capacity of my leadership as a Minister of MAFFS, extreme due diligence will be done to deliver this much needed funds to the people of Sierra Leone, especially with the new phenomenon of sub-granting that will tremendously give ownership to our people and help to directly improve their livelihoods”.

Ambassador Peter Versteeg, Head of Delegation of the European Union in Sierra Leone, was equally enthused about the four-year project. He said: “Sierra Leone’s agriculture sector remains the largest sector in the country and is a key driver for the country’s economic development with enormous potential. By boosting crop yields and diversifying farming production systems, this programme will contribute to achieving food self-sufficiency, increasing exports and creating job opportunities for vulnerable populations through smallholder agricultural development”

Meanwhile, the release adds that the overall strategic objective of the EU’s activities in Sierra Leone is to reduce poverty in line with the government’s priorities. It says EU cooperation with Sierra Leone provides a total of more than EUR 376 million under the 11th European Development Fund for the period 2014-2020, while additional support is made available through regional indicative programmes and specific thematic programmes.

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