EU JOB’S AND GROWTH PROGRAMME PROMOTES AGRO TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION INTIATIVES FOR SUSTAINABLE FARMING IN SIERRA LEONE
June 8, 2021
Sierra Leone is endowed with favourable climatic conditions with diverse agro-ecological areas suitable for a wide variety of crops. Agriculture is considered as an important sector of Sierra Leone’s economy and constitutes a key Government priority. Still despites of these assets, the sector is facing several challenges and constraints, undermining expected results and pro-poor growth, notably in rural areas. Unsustainable agriculture practices, limited input supply and management as well as post-harvest losses are certainly important aspects that need to be addressed in order to tap into Sierra Leone‘s potential to meet internal and external market demands.
Agro-technology and innovation development could possibly provide some cost effective and efficient solution to transform Sierra Leone’s agriculture into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive sector. In that context, the European Union (EU) has launched its Jobs & Growth Programme, which aims at boosting economic growth, improving agriculture efficiency, and promoting sustainable climate-smart agro-development. According to Eurostat, innovation technology development has demonstrated tangible impact in African economies notably in terms of economic self-sufficiency for young agriculture entrepreneurs, especially women.
Under the Jobs & Growth Programme, the EU delegation to Sierra Leone is implementing a call for proposals for agro-technology development to increase private sector investment in technology and innovations. This is a uniquely competitive opportunity for Sierra Leonean organizations and SMEs seeking to develop and/or expand sustainable agro-processing and agribusiness innovation and technology.
The Agro-Tech call for proposals is designed based on the positive experience gained under the Agro-business Development from Organic Resources (ADORE), an initiative funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by the Welthungerhilfe organisation, Moawoma cooperative, Lizard-Earth and Door to Europe companies, to support production and processing of organic cacao into chocolate bars made in Sierra Leone. The ADORE project aims to stimulate the sustainable growth of the Sierra Leonean agri-business sector (particularly in Kenema and Kailahun), building inclusive partnerships between value chain stakeholders at all levels by linking farmers with the national and international markets, as well as promoting and enabling policy environment.
Supporting ADORE, the EU is responding to the growing demand by end consumers in Europe and the USA for organic and Fairtrade certified premium products from Africa by bringing value-added cocoa products made in Sierra Leone to the domestic and international markets. The action also aims to improve the quality of traditional farming processes and enhance green transformation and circular processes.
This intervention is sustaining more than 2,000 jobs, notably smallholders cocoa producer, providing them with premium price for certified organic cocoa, hence promoting a greener economy development for Sierra Leone.
The EU is confident that agro-technology development practices will promote a transition towards a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy of Sierra Leone, protecting the environment and promoting social inclusion.