February 21, 2020
By Kennedy Emmanuel
Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has yesterday launched the 15 grant projects costing 18 Million Euros, under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), through it project tittle “Boosting Agriculture for Food Security” (BAFS).
The ceremony took place at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown on February 20, 2020.
Speaking during the ceremony, the second gentle- man said the project marked an important milestone in the history of the country, adding that economic diversification is crucial to the development of Sierra Leone.
He said the New Direction administration has reiterated that agriculture is a key priority to the development of the country that would boost food sufficiency.
“In the sub-region, there has been a systematic focus on reducing dependency on food importation. With the right climate conditions in the country, there is no reason why agriculture must not thrive,” he said.
Vice President Juldeh said one of their goals is to support food value chain, adding that most of the local products are on a very small scale.
He thanked the EU for coming to the aid of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and appealed that the grantees use the grant for the right purposes.
Also speaking, EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Tom Vens, said yesterday’s launch was the culmination of many months of intense exchanges and cooperation between his office and colleagues from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
He said what they achieved represented a radical shift in the way they work as partners.
“For the first time private sector partners are in the driving seat in implementing projects to mobilise the economic potential of Sierra Leone. I am convinced that this new approach can unlock private investment and exploit significant opportunities in the agriculture sector with a specific focus on jobs for youth. This reflects our common understanding that the private sector holds the largest potential for generating jobs and growth and it is therefore essential to boost responsible investments in Sierra Leone. To maximise the private sector investment that we will support through our programme, we identified the most promising value chains. On the basis of this, calls for proposals were organised. And I wish all to play an active role in monitoring progress through these interventions. I invite all to play a part in ensuring accountability,” he said.
He noted that the launch was the result of a highly competitive process and that out of a total of 67 applications, 15 highly relevant projects emerged.
“They represent the EU and Sierra Leone’s commitment to take our partnership for investment and jobs to the next level and to deliver on the Africa – Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs as part of the European Union – African Union Partnership.”
He said along with macro-economic stability and open financial systems for increased private sector investment the projects could provide for an enabling investment climate and business environment.
“We will continue working with our partners to address broader critical governance issues, such as the rule of law, transparency and accountability. We want to continue to join hands to fight corruption and illicit financial flows and to build strong institutions. These are all necessary to create the conditions for robust and equitable private sector growth and job creation,” he said.
Chief Agriculture Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Idara Sheriff, said the event was a history making for the ministry, adding that the ministry has been making huge strides in that area.
He said the 18 million Euros would be divided among the 15 grantees to implement their projects in their different localities.
He said EU has been a long-standing partner in the development arena, stating that the EU in the mid-60s and 70s helped the country greatly.
He said the grant initiative fit into the National Agriculture Transformation Programme 2O23 framework, adding that the ministry’s aim for this year was to increase productivity and production on value chain.