Sierra Leone is classified as a low-income country, with nearly three out of four of its people living on less than $2 a day. Poverty is directly linked to the problems faced in agricultural production and commercialization.
Agriculture could be an effective driver of economic growth, generating jobs, reducing poverty and restoring hope. We support increased agricultural productivity, through farming as a business model that adopts a market driven and value chain approach. It also promotes better management of natural resources with a focus on forest co-management in marginalized communities.
USAID assistance supports community-based savings and loans schemes, provides innovative grants to small- and medium-sized enterprises along the value chain, introduces new agricultural technologies, strengthens linkages between farmers and markets, and provides business training and assistance to producer and market associations. Women and youth are both beneficiaries and partners in all these interventions. In addition, we are helping to rebuild vital community infrastructure such as roads leading to productive communities, markets and bridges to enhance the growth of local economies. With this support, local cooperatives collectively exported 140 metric tons of high-quality cocoa in 2011 to a company in Europe, increasing incomes for smallholder farmers.
These activities have enabled producer and market associations, including youth and women-led associations, to manage new agricultural enterprises and expand their businesses. Household income has increased in USAID-targeted communities, and members are now able to meet their basic needs including food and medical care, send their children to higher education, and save money for the future.
The Government of Sierra Leone has partnered with the US Government in the agriculture and health sectors to develop a more integrated food security and nutrition strategy. Funding also promotes staff development and institutional strengthening at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Food Security and at the Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency in support of the Smallholder Commercialization Program to increase agricultural production, promote exports, and increase incomes for farmers.
Last updated: November 20, 2014