June 22, 2016 By Victoria Saffa
In order to determine the functionality and commercialization of Agricultural Business Centres (ABCs) in the country, in a bid to making them profitable and sustainable after Global Agricultural and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) intervention, the SCP/GAFSP has started a two week nationwide data collection for the assessment of 193 ABCs.
The process, which started with training for 65 supervisors from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) extension officers, was held in the eastern provincial headquarters of Kenema.
A representative of the SCP/GAFSP Programme Management Unit, Agricultural Business Development Officer Bob Abdul Rahman Conteh, described the session as one that would provide the unit, MAFFS and other interested stakeholders with information on the status of performance of 193 SCP/GAFSP ABCs, so that the necessary support would be provided to the selected few with potential of becoming productive and sustainable.
National Consultant for the ABC assessment, Ahmed Nanoh, revealed that training on the use of the assessment tool was aimed at familiarising supervisors, including MAFFS Block Extension officers, with the tool, as it would be the major instrument for data collection on the performance of ABCs.
He noted that the assessment tool had already been developed and validated by key stakeholders of the project, although the need to test it before using it in the field was the reason behind the training.
He said the exercise was envisaged to determine the physical status of the 193 GAFSP ABCs infrastructure, equipment, machines, and their functionality in terms of management and business capability, as well asranking them based on approved criteria (tool) developed by PMU, MAFFS and FAO.
He said that based on the ranking, some 50 ABCs would be identified for transformation into viable business entities through adequate support by the project and recommended on the nature, content and implementation plan for the recommended agribusinesses and institutions.
Conteh said that all the 193 ABCs that are getting support from SCP/GAFSP should consider the exercise very important, adding that their success hinged greatly upon it.