A tripartite agreement was signed in Freetown on the 9th June, 2023 among Sierra Leone, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Vietnam with the Minister of Finance Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura signing on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, Saeed Abubakar Bancie, FAO Representative in Sierra Leone on behalf of the organization and a representative of the Vietnamese Government.
The tripartite agreement is based on a South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) aimed at developing the rice sector of the small West African country with an estimated budget of $5 million to be implemented through a Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) from Sierra Leone.
The Agriculture Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Karim commended Vietnam for its commitment to providing technical assistance through FAO South-South Cooperation, emphasizing the invaluable role it will play in Sierra Leone’s agricultural landscape.
As pointed out, the new tripartite project will support diverse actors to increase productivity and production of rice through increased access to improved technologies and upscaling of best practices along the rice value chain.
It is expected that over the course of a four-year project, Vietnam will provide its expertise in rice-value-chain development to Sierra Leone.
Skilled experts and technicians specialized in rice production, irrigation, rice breeding, mechanization, and post-harvest management will be deployed to various national sites, including research stations. Additionally, capacity-building initiatives such as study tours, field training and training of trainers will be implemented to empower local stakeholders.
The new tripartite agreement is part of FAO’s strong commitment to broaden its partnership base with diverse groups of countries through South-South and Triangular Cooperation and the mobilization. Countries in the Global South are increasingly recognizing SSTC as one of the most efficient delivery modalities addressing their needs.
Minister Abu Bakarr Karim commended Vietnam for its commitment to providing technical assistance through FAO South-South Cooperation, emphasizing the invaluable role it will play in Sierra Leone’s agricultural landscape.
Spearheading and mainstreaming South-South and Triangular Cooperation since 1996, FAO has been working at central and decentralized levels, to promote SSTC amongst its Member States as a means to reduce poverty and hunger, while promoting sustainable agrifood systems.
The SSTC Guidelines for Action, a key tool to scale up SSTC technical and financial partnerships in support of agrifood systems transformation, is one of the many ways in which FAO is spearheading and mainstreaming SSTC.
With regards to the development of the rice sector in African countries in particular, FAO has supported, through SSC, major rice-producing countries such as Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda to address the challenges facing their rice value chains.
Through country-level capacity-building, regional knowledge exchange events and study tours, FAO has extensively facilitated the sharing of good practices, lessons learned and the dissemination of analysis on rice value chains. In carrying out these functions, FAO has established strong partnerships with institutions such as the Africa Rice Centre (Africa Rice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), bringing their expertise to the benefit of target beneficiaries.