Solidaridad West Africa has signed a 2.4 million Euro partnership agreement with the European Union in Sierra Leone to implement the Agro-Tech Development Support programme in the country.

Head of Cooperation at the European Union in Sierra Leone left and Country Representative of Solidaridad in Sierra Leone right signing the partnership

The four-year (2022-2026) programme will promote innovative technology along the cashew value chain and support livelihoods in rural communities to reduce the degradation of natural resources and biodiversity.

Under the agreement, Solidaridad and its partners will work with the government of Sierra Leone and cashew farmers and processors in the Port Loko, Tonkolili, Kambia and Bombali districts to reduce poverty, improve food and nutrition security, and increase job opportunities and stable incomes.

“We believe that agriculture is paramount for the sustainable economic development of the country, especially in this troubled time with the Russian-Ukraine crisis. Building up national capacities and value chains is key to strengthening local production and reducing import dependency.”

Gerald Hatler, the Head of Cooperation at the European Union in Sierra Leone

The signing ceremony took place in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with representatives from the European Union, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and beneficiaries of the partnership, including Capitol Foods Ltd, Tradin Organic Sierra Leone Ltd, and Mankind’s Activities for Development Accreditation Movement. 

Hatler indicated that agriculture is the backbone of the local economy, and a key sector supported by the European Union in partnership with the government of Sierra Leone. He highlighted the Agro-Tech programme as part of the Union’s jobs and growth programme that operates at the nexus of investment, education, and employment to improve the climate, upgrade human capital and create jobs for a predominantly under experienced workforce in the country. 

Nicholas Jengre, Country Representative of Solidaridad in Sierra Leone, who signed the grant on behalf of Isaac Gyamfi, Regional Director for Solidaridad West Africa, said the programme will leverage private sector investments in the cashew sector with the goal of reducing the environmental and carbon footprint of food systems and strengthening resilience to climate change.

“Solidaridad, in partnership with Randlyn Holdings Limited and Develop Salone as co-implementers, will promote sustainable natural resource management through the adoption and scaling of climate-smart cashew agroforestry and a mini-cashew factory for value addition, as well as job creation in line with the green goals objective of the government of Sierra Leone.” 

Nicholas Jengre, Country Representative of Solidaridad in Sierra Leone

Key aims for the cashew programme

The Agro-Tech Development Support programme aims to improve the business environment of the cashew sector in Sierra Leone through policy advocacy and awareness efforts. Solidaridad will establish and strengthen Farmer Support Centres, youth labor groups and Village Saving Loans Associations to enhance local natural resource management and income-generating opportunities for rural communities, especially women and youth. 

Solidaridad will also connect farmers to markets and create decent jobs for processors and sellers in the cashew value chain through the establishment of adequate cashew processing facilities to meet health and food safety standards.