Innovative farming approaches improve livelihoods in Sierra Leone

17 February 2020

Solidaridad in Sierra Leone joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The World Food Programme and a host of national and international organizations to demonstrate and reaffirm commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition in Sierra Leone. This has resulted in improved livelihoods for thousands of farmers.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Hon. Samking Koihinah Braima interacts with staff of Solidaridad in Sierra Leone 

The innovative farming approaches Solidaridad has introduced in Sierra Leone has helped hundreds of farmers to improve their livelihoods, and this has received a commendation from the country’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Hon. Samking Koihinah Braima. 

Our farmers are getting impatient. They can no longer wait for many years before they benefit from the cash crops they grow. This is why the Government of Sierra Leone is happy with Solidaridad for introducing improved planting materials, which are fast-growing and high yielding to our farmers" - Hon. Braima.

The Deputy Minister made these remarks when he recently visited the exhibition booth of Solidaridad at the national World Food Day celebrations, held at Port Loko under the theme, “Our Action, Our Future”. 

At the event, Solidaridad exhibited a model cocoa farm intercropped with plants like maize, banana, plantain, and cassava. 

 

A model intercropped farm demonstrated at the World Food Day celebrations 

The goal of the intercropping is to help farmers get more from the same piece of land, improve crop yield, ensure food diversification and increase income in both the short and long term" - Luseni Kappia, Cocoa Programme Manager for Solidaridad in Sierra Leone. 
 

The intercropping model also helps to improve soil fertility and conserves forests by maximizing land use and discouraging shifting cultivation, according to Kappia. 

At the exhibition booth, the Deputy Minister said the government has taken notice of the innovation that Solidaridad has introduced to help farmers have all year access to food and income while they wait for the cash crops to mature.

The Government, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, welcomes this initiative and is determined to work with Solidaridad and other institutions to extend this across the country” - Hon. Braima.

For more than 14 years, Solidaridad West Africa has been making a difference in the sustainable production, trade and consumption of cocoa, oil palm, cashew and coffee commodities. 

Between 2012 and 2017, Solidaridad implemented cocoa and oil palm programmes in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire with funding from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Accra. The programmes tested and validated a business case for developing the West Africa cocoa and oil palm sub-sectors through support to smallholder farmers and small and medium enterprises in partnership with relevant private sector companies.

Following its success, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands provided additional funding for an extended phase, also covering Sierra Leone and Liberia from November 2017 – December 2021. 

In the last two years that Solidaridad has implemented the cocoa and oil palm programmes in Sierra Leone, it has raised and planted more than 600,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings and over 180,000 improved oil palm seedlings in more than 200 cocoa and oil palm growing communities in the Kono, Kenema and Kailahun Districts. 

Read more about Solidaridad's work in West Africa

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