Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone president calls for increased agricultural investment, ADRA assists farmers

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Silver Spring, Maryland-In the midst of soaring food prices and calls from Sierra Leone's president for increased agricultural investment, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is improving farming productivity and access to food resources for more than 2,500 rural households in Port Loko District, in northern Sierra Leone. This recent project was launched on World Food Day, October 15.

Through a partnership with the Maragiri Women's Cooperative Society, a local organization of farmers dedicated to ensuring access to food in their own communities and beyond, ADRA is improving food security in 29 villages in the Kaffu Bullom chiefdom, by providing farming tools, materials, machinery, and training in improved agricultural methods. The project also aims to give beneficiaries economic development opportunities in various areas, including bread making, salt processing, fishing, and Gara fabric dyeing. This project, funded by ADRA International, is valued at more than $79,000.

"By improving the ways in which local farmers grow their food, we will increase the crop yields of our farmers," said Beryl Aseno-Nyamwange, country director for ADRA offices in Sierra Leone and Gambia. "This in turn will increase food security within the targeted region."

In Kaffu Bullom, where one of the main economic activities is the production of food crops such as rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes, the project is expected to increase household incomes, ultimately resulting in a better quality of life for families and increased education opportunities for their children.

The launching of this project comes just weeks after Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma addressed the UN General Assembly on September 25, calling for more investment in his country's agricultural sector.

"It is vital that Africa increases food productivity and achieves food self-sufficiency," he said, noting that rising food prices could have a negative impact on Sierra Leone's stability. "African farmers need to adopt higher-yielding land practices, with increased use of improved seeds, fertilizers and irrigation."

ADRA is also raising literacy rates in small-scale farmers' associations through an initiative that aims to improve their networking and marketing skills. Participants will learn important skills in monitoring, documentation, and reporting, essential components that help them make informed decisions by recording activities and visualizing results. This enables ADRA to more effectively measure the ultimate impact of the project.

ADRA has been active in Sierra Leone for more than 20 years, focusing on relief work during the recent decade-long civil war, and promoting development in health care, education, agriculture, food security, water and sanitation, resource management, infrastructure, and HIV and AIDS.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.

Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org.

Author: Nadia McGill

Media Contact: John Torres, Senior Public Relations Manager, ADRA International 12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, MD 20904 Phone: 301.680.6357 E-mail: Media.Inquiries@adra.org

MEDIA INQUIRIES: 1-800-931-2372