Agriculture accounts for over 50% of Sierra Leone’s GDP and is the largest source of employment engaging more than three-quarters of the population.
The European Union (EU) Boosting Agriculture and Food Security (BAFS) programme will provide €35 Million to strengthen the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone.
There are three strands to this programme:
- Increase the policy making capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) to promote sustainable agriculture and food security. Under this objective the institutional capacity of MAF and the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute will be reinforced and agricultural education and research will be strengthened with support to universities and colleges.
- Enhance the productivity and profitability of cashew, cocoa and coffee (CCC) farming by: establishing agro-forestry systems for CCC, rehabilitating CCC plantations and replacing old, low yield varieties of plants improving the efficiency and effectiveness of related value chains for export.
- Foster sustainable agricultural diversification and ensure that small holders have fair market linkages by: encouraging crop diversification and promoting livestock farming. This will include a national vaccination campaign, promoting sustainable agricultural and internal trade and supporting agribusinesses along added value chains.
The overall impact of the BAFS programme will be to reduce poverty and food insecurity in Sierra Leone. Agricultural diversification will boost food security and provide a better nutritional basis for small holders. It will also improve their ability to withstand external shocks as a result of climate change or as a result of the instability of commodity prices. Crops and practices that limit erosion and reduce desertification, will increase environmental sustainability and reduce the impact of climate change. As women play a significant role in the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone, particularly as smallholders, boosting the sector will increase their incomes and opportunities. For young people in rural areas, business opportunities and access to more modern jobs in the agricultural sector will support youth employment and efforts to limit urban drift.