According to the Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Patricia Laverley, who signed on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, 73% of the funds-representing $21.5million will be a loan, while the remaining $7million will be giving as a grant.
The largest share of the additional funds by IFAD will be devoted to rice production in the inland valley swamps, which is consistent with the priorities of government.
The project has three components namely; climate resilient and smart agricultural production, agricultural market development and project coordination and management.
She further stated that agricultural development remains key to the country’s economic development and rural poverty reduction, noting that there is considerable untapped potential for improving production and productivity of both staple and cash crops.
She said the Agriculture Value Chain Development project will help promote crop diversification to provide flexibility and choice to beneficiaries and support improved nutrition.
“We will work towards the implementation of this additional financing agreement to achieve its objectives. We will do our utmost to ensure that the resources provided for this project will be used for their intended purposes,” she assured.
Dr. Laverley noted that the project will target an estimated 43,000 direct beneficiaries and their families, thereby reaching approximately 260,000 people.
She added that the impact IFAD contributions have had over the years in Sierra Leone has been tremendous.
In his brief statement, IFAD Director for West and Central Africa, Lisandro Martin said: “We are working towards continuing our support to the government to making agriculture at the center of growth and poverty reduction. Our contribution is meant to advance inclusion efforts. Sierra Leone has seen sustained growth over the years but there is still a lot more to be done, especially the inclusion of women the agricultural sector.”
He added that the support from IFAD will help fortify the value chain and financial instruments for women and youths in particular so that everybody can benefit from the country’s agricultural produce.