The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, SamKing Brima has said that the Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP) will aptly work with the private sector in the Project locations to support the farmers in increasing rice production and productivity.
Minister Brima was speaking on Saturday 20th February during the second National Steering Committee meeting of the Sierra Leone Regional Rice Value Chain Project in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
“The project steering committee is generally required to provide oversight, direction, oversight, support and advice for the successful implementation of the project. It approves the annual work plan and budget including the procurement plan,” he disclosed.
He noted that the private sector has a critical role to play in the implementation of the project especially with the introduction of the policy shift by the ministry this will help leverage the growth of the private sector in the agriculture industry.
Commending the National Steering Committee members for their attendance, he noted that their contribution and guidance is integral for the successful implementation of the project, adding that the project has the potential to significantly contribute to rice production through smallholder farmers in the country considering the project locations of Mambolo\Samu and Bum chiefdoms.
He disclosed that the $34.12million is jointly funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, the Islamic Development Bank and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and Sierra Leone is among the first 5 participating countries in West Africa sub-region over a five-year period.
Giving an overview about the project objectives, the Project Coordinator of the Regional Rice Value Chain Project, Abdulai Bun Wai reiterated that they are going to support and trained the 7000 farmers, 5000 in (Bonthe) and 2000 in Mambolo/Samu chiefdoms of (Kambia) on mechanized rice production through the agribusiness companies identified in the project locations.
Mr. Wai noted that they will take along the different value chain players for successful implementation of the project and Africa Rice is going to bring certified seeds, fertilizers including agrochemicals to support the farmers. He added that during the inception workshop the project divided the implement into five segments from seeds and inputs, production, processing, marketing and access to finance.
“The project is going to support the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), Seed Multiplication Program (SMP) and Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency (SLeSCA) to ensure that their capacity is built for efficiency. Africa Rice will bring breeder and Foundation seeds for the various institutions to multiple for the following year with a strong sense that the country will not import seeds again,” he noted.
He informed his gathering that the project will support the farmers to have access to finance, reconstruct the Tormabum processing mill, construction of dry floors and construction markets in the project locations to create more linkages.
The various speakers at the meeting made salient contributions towards the successful implementation of the project and called on the project coordinating unit to be proactive to ensure the project objectives are meant to reduce the huge importation of rice in the country.
The meeting brought together various line ministries and other partners in the agriculture sector to approve the annual work plan and budget including the procurement plan.
The annual work plan and budget including the procurement plan were unanimously approved by NSC members for the 2021 planting season.
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Communications and Advocacy Unit