On Thursday 18th of May, at the presence of the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security of Sierra Leone, Prof. Monty Jones, the consortium composed by the non-governmental organizations Welthungerhilfe (WHH), COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale and Inter Aide launched the 4-year European Union funded food security program “Fostering Smallholder Agriculture in Sierra Leone” (ProAct).
The event took place at MAFFS’s branch in Kenema district with the aims to gather all stakeholders involved into agriculture development at regional and national level to debate and highlight strategies to address the root causes of food and nutrition insecurity Sierra Leone.
The Chairman of the Launching Ceremony was the District Agriculture Officer of Kono Mr. David F. Sellu-Sallu and with the participation of the District Council Chairman of Kono A.R. Koningia, the Resident Minister for the Eastern Region Mr. Karamoh Kabba, COOPI ProAct Project Manager Giacomo Mencari and the Deputy Director the National Authorizing Office Mrs. Amy M. Myers. Other participants include NGO’s operating within Kenema district, cocoa/coffee exporters, farmers, Institutions in the cocoa/coffee value chain, chairmen council of Paramount chiefs in Kono, Kailahun and Kenema.
During the launching ceremony Mr. Emmanuel Yankson, the ProAct assistant project manager for Welthungerhilfe, illustrated the Project work plan and strategies. Mr. Yankson highlighted ProAct two main areas of intervention:
- support to diversification of agriculture production and raising awareness among the population on the links between food diversification, hygiene and improved nutrition;
- promotion to income generation through provision of support to the value chain of cash crops such as cocoa, coffee and cashew.
Furthermore Mr. Yankson stressed about the role of each member of the consortium which under ProAct operational framework: Welthungerhilfe supports the cocoa and coffee sector in the eastern districts of Kenema, Kono and Kailahun; COOPI operates in the cashew value chain in the northern districts of Port-Loko, Bombali and Kambia, while Inter Aide is involved into the expansion of vegetable production and establishment of water wells in Bombali district.
During the Thursday event the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security of Sierra Leone, Prof. Monty Jones showed appreciation for the initiative and involvement of the different stakeholders. Furthermore he stressed on the role of the development partners and the donors community, in particular the European Union that operating in synergy with the National Institutions contribute for a sustainable development of the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone.
COOPI is working in Sierra Leone since 1972. Currently its main areas of interventions are education, renewable energies and food security. Under ProAct operational framework, COOPI is targeting 1,000 women with support to agriculture diversification while also raising awareness with the population on the links between food diversification, hygiene and improved nutrition. Furthermore COOPI is supporting income generation for vulnerable farming households through promotion of agroforestry systems based on cashew as cash crops. The intervention aims to expand production, improving quality of the products while enhancing processing techniques and marketing strategies. The income generation component aims to establish 6,000 ha of new cashew plantation targeting 2,000 farming households.