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Sierra Leone and IFAD to boost food security in rural areas

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Republic of Sierra Leone have signed a financing agreement to develop a US$72.6mn Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (AVDP)

About 34,000 vulnerable rural households in Sierra Leone are expected to benefit from the project that aims to improve food and nutrition security and raise the incomes of smallholder farmers by modernising agriculture, increasing production and developing markets.

Project financing includes a US$5.9mn loan and US$5.9mn grant from IFAD.

The project is expected to be co-financed by the private sector (US$1.4mn), the Government of Sierra Leone (US$8.1mn) and the beneficiaries themselves (US$1.4mn).

Additional co-financing (US$9.2mn) is being requested from the Adaptation Fund. Over the next few months, an additional US$40.8mn will be made available under the performance-based allocation system cycle for Sierra Leone, covering the period 2019-2011, thereby reaching the total financing amount of US$72.6mn.

“IFAD's allocation of US$40.8mn to Sierra Leone for 2019-2021 has almost doubled compared to the 2016-2018 allocation of US$21.4mn,” said Lisandro Martin, director of IFAD's West and Central Africa division.

Agriculture accounts for 62 per cent of the labour force, 59 per cent of GDP and 22 per cent of export revenues. Poverty is particularly acute and concentrated in rural areas where 59 per cent of the population lives.

The new project will increase production and improve the marketing of rice, palm oil, cocoa and vegetables, contributing to the Government’s priorities of rice self-sufficiency, crop diversification and rural poverty reduction.

AVDP will invest in agricultural mechanisation, irrigation and water management. It will strengthen and climate-proof rural infrastructure through the rehabilitation of feeder roads and warehouses to improve product drying and storage capacity. It will also build the capacity of smallholder farmers through farmer field schools and provide them with credit for their investments in smallholder farms. At least 40 per cent of the project's participants will be women and youth.