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Sierra Leone | Belgium supports anticipatory actions against the secondary impacts of COVID-19

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Implementing anticipatory actions to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on food supply chains and safeguard the livelihoods and food security of vulnerable farming families.

In Sierra Leone, the COVID-19 pandemic coincided in a period characterized by a severe economic downturn, high food prices and inflation, and unprecedented food insecurity levels. The Government of Sierra Leone quickly adopted several measures to contain the pandemic; however, these are negatively impacting the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable people including agricultural workers, market women traders, cross-border traders and domestic workers. To mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, the Government also developed the Quick Action Economic Response Program. The agriculture sector is also impacted by COVID-19, especially affecting the most vulnerable farmers, reducing their access to markets, seeds, tools and inputs.

The compounding impacts of COVID-19 on the already critical situation in Sierra Leone, triggered FAO, with support from the Government of Belgium, to launch a series of anticipatory actions. This project aims to support the efforts of the Government, and to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the food security, nutrition and livelihoods of the most affected vulnerable farming households in Moyamba, Bo, Kenema and Western districts in Sierra Leone.

Targeting 2 000 vulnerable and food insecure farming households affected by COVID-19, project activities include:

  • provide vegetable seeds and tools to women farmers’ groups to boost production

  • provide training to women and youth farmers groups in post-harvest management skills, including processing, preservation and marketing of vegetables and perishable farm produce

  • coordinate with district/local authorities to facilitate market access and purchase of vegetables and fruits from youth and women farmers’ groups

  • support farmers’ groups with processing tools, mobile technology and means of mobility to improve marketing of their produce

FAO will implement this project in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry – bringing experience in extension support, on the ground knowledge and strong relationship with communities, and contributing extension and liaison support at district level. The project will build on FAO country experience in implementing previous and current food security related projects that target food insecure and vulnerable households. A community-based service approach, in collaboration with existing district, chiefdom and community-based structures, will be used to deliver project outputs considering COVID-19 containment measures.