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South-eastern farmers receive marketing training from SLeCAD, SCADeP

April 14, 2021

A cross section of participants at the training

The Smallholder Commercialisation and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) as World Bank funded project  managed and supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, has funded, under the partnership support funds, the Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD), and the Standards Bureau, to conduct specialised trainings in Marketing, Packaging, and Branding for agribusinesses, SMEs  and farmers  in the Southern and Eastern region of Sierra Leone.  

 The two days training which was organised in Bo city at the Agricultural Compound started on Thursday, March 25th 2021 and ended on the 26th March 2021 with the theme ‘Strengthening of Agribusiness SMEs Capacity in Marketing and Standards.’

The main objective of the training was to build the marketing, product development, packaging, labelling, branding and standards development capacities of SCADeP and SLeCAD supported agribusinesses, SMEs and Out growers in Sierra Leone to be able to have a competitive edge in the market place and run profitable and successful businesses create jobs and wealth, expand government tax base and ensure economic growth.

Trainers included officials from the Sierra Leone Standard Bureau, SLeCAD, SCADeP, and the Ministry of Agriculture, while the trainees include Agribusinesses, SMEs, farmers operating in the rice, cocoa, poultry, palm oil, cashew, cassava, soya beans, gari, maize and sorghum products value chains.

Giving an overview of SLeCAD, Executive Secretary of SLeCAD, Ahmed  Aki Nanoh, explained that the aforementioned project has been executed in Sierra Leone under the Ministry of Agriculture with support from USAID ,World Bank, and EPP/GiZ since 2008.

He mentioned that the purpose of  SLeCAD is to work with the Ministry  of Agriculture, other MDS  and partners to prepare farmers and agribusiness SMEs  to develop private sector mindset, be industrialised and become investment ready through trainings that will make them to follow standards and inculcate good marketing practices so that their agricultural products will thrive in the local and international markets.

According to him, the activities of SLeCAD will help form a formidable private sector that will make the work of the ministry visible, and, by extension, positively impact on the economy of the country, by saving the 250 million United States Dollars spent on annual importation of rice alone, adding that if 50 million Dollars is given to each region, the country will be saved not only be poverty free but will be fee from food insecurity.

The Executive Secretary said SLeCAD is working with the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN country Office and International Finance Cooperation (IFC), to develop a strategic plan used by the Chamber that will take Sierra Leone Agribusinesses and SMEs product internationally and help bridge the gap of food insecurity and poverty.

He noted that the role of  the Ministry of Agriculture is to support with policies and technical know-how, that will be transferred to the private sector which will in turn help create jobs, reduce poverty and to make life better for all.

 He said that agribusiness industrialisation is key for the economic transformation of Sierra Leone and that cannot be achieved without Agribusinesses and SMEs complying with entrepreneurs skills, standards, packaging, branding, and labelling. He emphasised that SMEs and  farmers making the effort to acquire skills and knowledge of enterpreneurships, marketing and standards will attract financial services providers to finance their businesses.

In his statement, SCADeP representative southern region, and Team Lead for Value Chain Promotion Officers, Francis Sam Gbeinga, thanked SLeCAD for organizing such all-important program, noting that SCADeP is a sister project under MAF and partnering with SLeCAD, that seeks to promote agricultural productivity through linkages in selected value chains and improved access to markets, finance to ensure the development of inclusive smallholder farmer in targeted project areas of Sierra Leone.

He noted that if local farmers engage in large scale commercial farming and quality productivity it will help augment agricultural growth required to reduce extreme levels of poverty among smallholder farmers and promote nationwide economic growth.

He encouraged the agribusiness, SMEs and farmers to engage in the production of high standard quality products what will increase their market potential and ensure better price offers for their products.

Manager for Standards Department of the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau, Abdul Aziz Kamara, encouraged the Agribusiness Farmers to adhere to standards, adding that branding, packaging, and labelling are all requirements of standards.

He described standards as a norm and a way of life and admonished farmers to make sure they take their product to Standards Bureau to conduct measurement, fix expiring date, lab test and more. He said failing to follow those processes will amount to a crime and product of such cannot be put to market for sales or exported.

Mr. Aiah J. Thorlie, Director of Agricultural Extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, told the farmers that the only avenue left for government to supporting farmers is through the private sector, noting that by the next farming season, the private sector will be providing seedlings, fertilizers and machines for agribusiness farmers. He spoke about the Government new policy shift which is a good policy for private sector and will aid the transformation the agricultural sector and ensure improved industrialisation and enhance economic growth  for the country.

He commended SLeCAD for organizing such a useful training, adding that the aforementioned is a body that is responsible for information flow, giving technical advice, and capacitating producers  and processors of farm products, making it the body that will be directly interfacing with the farmers.

At the end of the training, agribusiness farmers expressed gratitude to SLeCAD and its partners for the wonderful capacity building training and promise to strictly put in practice what they have learnt within the two days.

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