Government & FAO Partner to Bolster Forge the Rice Sector

The Government of Sierra Leone and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have signed a transformative agreement in a historic move aimed at bolstering the country’s rice sector. The signing ceremony, held recently in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone, marked a significant milestone in the nation’s agricultural development.

Under the agreement, facilitated through a Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF), Sierra Leone will harness FAO’s technical prowess to revamp its rice industry. The UTF mechanism enables developing nations like Sierra Leone to tap into FAO’s expertise using funds sourced from national coffers or international financial institutions.

Attended by key stakeholders including FAO Representative, Saeed Abubakar Bancie and Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture Dr. Henry Musa Kpaka, the ceremony emphasized the nation’s commitment to leveraging the UTF for agricultural advancement.

Sierra Leone’s endorsement of the UTF project, titled : “Strengthening the Rice Value Chain in Sierra Leone through South-South Cooperation,” underscores its resolve for agricultural growth. Minister Kpaka hailed the initiative as a potential game-changer for rice production and the government’s flagship program ‘Feed Salone.’

A noteworthy aspect of the UTF is its ability to attract additional funding, exemplified by a supplementary grant of USD 2.7 million from the World Bank. This injection of funds underscores international support for Sierra Leone’s agricultural transformation.

Implemented through South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) with Vietnam, the UTF project aims to enhance rice productivity by providing access to advanced technologies and promoting best practices across the value chain.

FAO Representative Saeed Abubakar Bancie hailed the partnership as a means to harness Vietnam’s successful rice production practices for the benefit of Sierra Leone. He emphasized the project’s role in improving livelihoods and fueling economic growth.

The initiative will deploy skilled experts in various facets of rice production to national project sites and research stations. Capacity-building efforts such as study tours and training programs will empower local stakeholders, fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

FAO Director of the PST Division, Anping Ye, lauded Sierra Leone’s commitment to agri-food systems transformation through innovative cooperation models. FAO, a longstanding advocate of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, views the UTF as a potent tool for knowledge exchange among developing nations.

With the agreement sealed, Sierra Leone stands poised to embark on a transformative journey towards agricultural self-sufficiency, bolstered by international collaboration and FAO’s expertise.


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