Sierra Leone and UN strike deal to increase food security

4 Mar 19

The government of Sierra Leone and a United Nations agency have signed a $72.6m deal aimed at boosting food security and rural income in the country.

The financing agreement, signed by finance minister Jacob Saffa and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, will help increase food production and increase investment I the agricultural sector, which will in turn boost farmers’ incomes.

Agriculture is the largest sector of Sierra Leone’s economy, accounting for 62% of the labour force and 59% of GDP. But poverty remains an issue, particularly in rural areas, where 59% of the population lives.

The financing agreement includes a $5.9m loan and a $5.9m grant from IFAD. It will be co-financed by the private sector, which will provide $1.4m.

Over the next few months, IFAC will make an additional $40.8m available to Sierra Leone, under its new replenishment cycle covering 2019 to 2021, the agency said.

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

This is because of “the strong performance of the country programme in recent years”,” he added.

The programme will see increased investment in agricultural mechanisation, irrigation and water management, as well as strengthening and climate-proofing infrastructure in rural areas.

The government of Sierra Leone has said it will prioritise rice self-sufficiency, crop diversification and rural poverty reduction.

 

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