Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 March 2019:
Sierra Leone’s minister of agriculture and forestry, Mr. Joseph Jonathan Ndanema, yesterday launched an induction programme for beneficiaries of the Agribusiness Services Matching Grant (ASMG).
The grant support is coordinated by the Small Holder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) and supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry(MAF).
The program was attended by farmers from across the country, stakeholders and organisations involved in agricultural business development.
SCADeP’s Grant Manager – Mr. Alimamy Kargbo explained to farmers that the ASMG is a matching grant that will be provided to Producer Organizations (POs) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) along the value chain.
He said that the ASMG will provide farmers with access to technical assistance for business development; implementation of business plans; support for productive partnerships; training, capacity building, and knowledge exchange to learn about new technologies, processes or services.
He said that the ASMG will help farmers acquire international certification; undertake research and development (R&D) for formation of new products, processes, services, and delivery systems.
It will help farmers purchase light equipment for production, processing, post-harvest, packaging, and achieve quality control standards.
They will also assist farmers in setting up small scale agricultural storage, drying floors, processing sheds, poultry, and housing. .
The Minister said that, SCADeP is a coordinated under the auspices of MAF and supported by the ministry of finance. The institution is said was formed during the former APC regime but has been restructured in line with the aspirations of the New Direction.
“Now that we have regained our reputation and credibility from donor partners as a country under the New Direction, more help will come for the farmers,“ the minister promised.
He said that the SCADeP has been empowered so that the dream of attaining food self-sufficiency will be a reality, which is a must for the Bio led government, as all apparatuses have been deployed in order for that to happen, adding that “this government is a talk and do government, whatever we say, we make sure it happens, we cannot afford to fail, so let no one stand in our way” he warned.
The minister also told farmers and stakeholders that the government has identified three key ministries with potential to revolutionise the economy of the country. Theses ministries he said are; the ministry of agriculture, ministry of fisheries, and ministry of tourism.
He called on SCADeP to ensure that farmers receiving the business loan undertake bio-metric registration to ensure proper identification.