Sierra Leone - Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (AVDP) - June 2022
Nongowa Agriculture Business Centre, Kenema - The AVDP reinforces the concepts that farming is a business and that the country should be able to grow what it eats. In addition to its traditional value chain support programme in rice, cocoa and oil palm production, the project is working with farmers, especially women and women-headed households, persons with disabilities, and youth to increase vegetable production as part of growing efforts to boost their household incomes and nutrition. Eleven farmer-based organizations (FBOs) have come together to form the Nongowa ABC.
Agriculture Business Centres (ABCs) are helping smallholder producers move from mere subsistence farming to farming as a business. ABCs provide training and help increase access to services and markets that would otherwise be out of reach – they provide low-cost processing and storage facilities, help with branding for value addition, and link farmers to markets. Importantly, the ABCs help to social cohesion and cooperative spirit at the community level.
Mohalem Idris is a retired school teacher who farms inland valley swamp (IVS), growing rice and vegetables. He gets improved seeds and subsidized fertilizer from the ABC, and has also received a loan through the ABC to make water management improvements on his IVS plot. He uses the ABC machinery to process and package his rice, which he sells to the ABC together with his vegetable crops. With his increased income, Mohalem has been able to send his son abroad for a one-year post-graduate course at university.
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