Since 2009 COOPI has been carrying out a multi-year project in Freetown, Sierra Leone, funded by the European Union.
Such project aims at improving food security as well boosting development of urban and suburban population of the city. Of particular interest is the component focused on the development of agribusinesses by farmers and unemployed youth. With regards to this, COOPI has sustained more than 400 commercial farmers gathered in 3 associations in developing agri-food value chains promoting the ‘from seed to table’ approach, thus supporting the entire production process. COOPI has supported the identification by market analysis of three agrobusinesses with high market potential: one related to grinded hot pepper, one to vegetable production and processing (tomato, carrot, cucumber, etc.), one to fresh juice production (mango, orange, pineapple).
Same wise, more than 700 youth gathered in 25 associations have identified integrated farms combining animal rearing with vegetable and cereal production and marketing. The selected groups have then defined business strategies tailored on the identified agri-food value chains and have taken part in technical and organizational training before starting up the businesses. Furthermore, COOPI has supported 400 small scale farmers (out of which over 70% are women) in developing agricultural activities. Such support consisted of conducting the process of securing land tenure agreement with the city authorities and other stakeholders, as well as organizing training sessions to enhance agricultural production and diversification by introducing an innovative approach to urban agriculture.