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RRVCP Engages Project Stakeholders for the Next Planting Cycle

The Sierra Leone Regional Rice Value Chain Project (SLRRVCP) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has engaged the rice project stakeholders from Samu\Mambolo chiefdoms in Kambia and Bum Chiefdom Bonthe district respectively at a planning meeting to discuss possible steps for the next planting cycle on how to increase rice production and productivity.

Giving an overview about the planning meeting, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at Regional Rice Value Chain Project, Briama Bangura disclosed that the essence of the planning meeting was to engage the project stakeholders to identify a road map for prudent implementation of the project and compete with other countries that are part of the project in the sub region.

He called on the participants to make meaningful contributions to the planning meeting since their inputs would be critical for the successful implementation of the project and support the drive in reducing the huge importation of rice from other countries.

The Chairman of the planning meeting, who doubles as the Acting Director General of Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), Dr. Mathew L.S Gboku commended the project management unit for initiating the bottom top approach in engaging the project stakeholders before commencement of the next planting cycle, noting that the farmers inputs are critical important in planning session.

On his part, the Project Coordinator of Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP), Abdulai Bun Wai reiterated that in 2021 cropping season the project cultivated 1000 hectares in Tormabum and 500 in Samu\Mambolo with farmers through the agribusiness companies.

“The donors wanted Sierra Leone Agriculture Research Institute (SLARI) and Seed Multiplication Program (SMP) to provide foundation and breeder seeds before the commencement of the project, but the Government wanted the project to do planting form the first year the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry engaged the Africa Development Bank through Sierra Leone Agribusiness and Rice Value Chain Support Project to secure seeds rice for the project,” he noted.

The Project Coordinator explained that the rice value chain implementation model has been divided into five segments the seed\fertilizers\agro chemicals, paddy production, rice mill, marketing and access to finance, since each segment depends on each other for the successful implementation of the rice value chain including participation of the active players and the farmers. He added that the project would irrigate 4000 hectares to increase the cropping period and eventually enable vegetable production.

He informed his gathering that at the time of commencement of the project only one of donors Islamic Development Bank was fully on board and that affected the implementation of the project, but now that BADEA has commit their funds toward the project it would help to increase the project primary objectives of rice production and productivity.

Mr. Bun Wai noted that the first year of implementation was a learning process for the project management team, understanding the rice value chain challenges in the country, organizing the farmers and working with the agribusiness companies to enhance a successful implementation of the project.

The Project Coordinator pointed out that the project has received the inputs and agrochemicals from the various suppliers, and now in readiness to work with the farmers and project stakeholders to increase on the hectares for this year cropping season.

Speaking for the chiefdoms, the Paramount Chief of Bum Chiefdom, Bonthe district, PC Alex Maada Kainpumu II commended project management unit for involving the farmers in the planning process of the project, noting that Tormabum ecology is different from the Mambolo and Samu identifying the different varieties that would be suitable for the various ecologies would increase the rice yield. He called on the project to bring the project stakeholders when engaging the agribusiness companies for better negotiation on how to engage the farmers in the project locations.

SLARI,SLeSCA , SMP and the Union Trust Bank made various presentations on how they will support the project and farmers increasing rice production and productivity in the country .



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