World Food Program steps up food security in Sierra Leone with $3.85 million Japanese funding

0
300

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 May 2022:

Last week, the Government of Japan and the United Nations WFP signed an agreement for a contribution of US$3.85 million toward WFP in Sierra Leone. The grant is for strengthening agricultural value chains Kambia, Kenema, Koinadugu, Moyamba, Pujehun and Tonkolili districts of Sierra Leone.

The agreement was signed by H.E Mochizuki Hisanobu (right), the Japanese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, based in Ghana, and the WFP Country Director in Ghana, Barbara Clemens, on behalf of the Country Director, WFP Sierra Leone, Steve Nsubuga

Commenting on the new funding, Ambassador Mochizuki Hisanobu said: “I am pleased that Japan and WFP have the opportunity to build on our previous work to address food security in Sierra Leone, where the livelihoods of many people are dependent on agriculture. This is a valued partnership that we do not take for granted.

“Japan recognizes the importance of cooperation in agriculture as a way to reduce poverty and address food insecurity. This is why over the years we have prioritized the improvement of agricultural production through knowledge sharing, experience and grant support in many developing countries.

“In the case of Sierra Leone, Japan acknowledges the reliance on agriculture as a source of employment, especially for the rural poor and food security for the growing population. Japan also acknowledges the fact that, despite the significant role the agricultural sector plays in Sierra Leone, there are a lot of challenges that make it difficult for the sector to realize its full potential. In this regard, we are pleased that through this grant WFP can extend various support to farmers in the areas of production, processing, distribution and consumption.

“Japan has a long history of promoting efforts in agricultural development in Sierra Leone and Africa at large. Major commitments have been announced at previous TICAD summits to support agricultural development in Africa. Notable among them is the Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA), Coalition for Africa Rice Development (CARD) and other policies aimed at positioning the African farmer at the forefront of agricultural production and productivity. At TICAD 8 to be held in August, agriculture and food security will be one of the priority agendas.

“Also, JICA through several technical cooperation projects has helped to improve agriculture in many developing countries including Sierra Leone. Currently, Japan’s private sector is also coming on board and they have collaborated on several agricultural projects in Africa where they have introduced Japanese expertise and technology to boost the sector.

“It is refreshing to know that WFP has plans of partnering with Japanese companies on this project as well. All these initiatives show Japan’s determination to make sure our partners including Sierra Leone are equipped with the necessary capacity to boost production in the agricultural sector and open opportunities for smallholder farmers.

“Let me add that, Japan focuses its development cooperation on people, especially those liable to be vulnerable. In this regard, this project is relevant to Japan’s Overseas Development Assistance in the sense that it focuses on building the capacity of smallholder farmers which will consequently improve their livelihoods and that of their households. When the livelihoods of people are improved, it is an important step in our efforts to promote human security.

“I commend WFP and their counterpart the Ministry of Agriculture in Sierra Leone for their cooperation on the project.”

Steve Nsubuga, Country Director of WFP in said: “Today we once again are witnessing the generosity of the Government and people of Japan toward WFP in Sierra Leone, as well as their commitment to Zero Hunger. WFP in Sierra Leone is extremely grateful for this new grant of JPY 502,000,000. It brings the total amount of funding received from Japan by WFP Sierra Leone in the last five years to US$15.3 million. This makes Japan the largest bilateral donor to WFP in Sierra Leone.

“The project will position small-scale farmers’ groups, especially women and youths in the most food insecure chiefdoms of Sierra Leone, for greater economic opportunities. This project builds upon previous investments made by WFP with funding from Japan to unlock opportunities for Sierra Leonean smallholder farmers. It comes as WFP globally addresses rising humanitarian needs by ring-fencing its investments in building resilience.

“The project is aligned with key Sierra Leonean national priorities for agricultural development, outlined in the 2019-2023 National Agriculture Transformation Strategy: 1.  Rice self-sufficiency 2. Mechanization and 3. Crop diversification.

“Over 40,500 people in Kambia, Kenema, Koinadugu, Moyamba, Pujehun & Tonkolili districts will benefit from this grant at a time when the Sierra Leonean economy is strained, and food insecurity affects roughly 2/3 of the population.

“WFP looks forward to participating in the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8), which Japan and Tunisia will co-host in August this year.  We believe this project is entirely in line with the spirit of TICAD 8, addressing food security in Africa.

So, what will the $3.85 million funding achieve?

  • Collaboration with Japanese agriculture processing machinery company SATAKE to strengthen the capabilities of farmers’ groups and agricultural business centres to process high quality, polished rice
  • Training of youth and women machine operators in safe operation and maintenance of SATAKE rice processing machines, in collaboration with SATAKE
  • Piloting of solar powered cold storage facilities using Kaneka Solar Energy technology
  • Solar powered drip irrigation for vegetable cultivation using Kaneka Solar Energy technology
  • Training of farmers in the Technical Package for Rice Production (TPRP)
  • Strengthening of farmer groups’ governance and financial management through group formation and training of executives
  • Training of farmers in improved rice post-harvest management practices
  • Upgrading of farmers’ stores to improve storage capabilities
  • Soil testing of targeted Inland Valley Swamps to guide soil enhancement and conservation
  • Empowering smallholders to adopt the TPRP through provision of appropriate and quality fertilizer
  • Reforestation of Inland Valley Swamp water catchment areas with economic trees for sustainability
  • Training and equipping women and youth to establish organic compost making enterprises
  • Reforestation of Inland Valley Swamp water catchment areas with economic trees for sustainability
  • Supporting Community Youth Contractors to become agricultural entrepreneurs to enhance availability of quality inputs
  • Linking assisted farmers’ groups to market through home-grown school feeding
  • Piloting a last-mile transport solution to enhance smallholder market access