WFP AND EU: BOOSTERING SIERRA LEONE'S AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
15 December 2009, Freetown – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Sierra Leone today received the first 2,770 metric tons (MT) of food commodities as part of a donation from the European Union (EU) Food Facility. The shipment is part of a total €5.4 million contribution from the EU to help boost production by smallholder farmers, in line with the Sierra Leone Government's Agenda for Change (2008-2012) aimed at increasing agricultural productivity.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, expressed thanks to the European Union for the donation. "The leadership of His Excellency the President in prioritizing agriculture as the engine of growth and development for the people of Sierra Leone has been fully recognised by the EU," said Dr. Sesay.
In his statement, the Representative of the European Union Delegation, Giampiero Muci, mentioned that the EU's commitment to the poorest farmers in Sierra Leone was an important signal that at a time of financial crisis in the industrialized world, the European Union has not forgotten the needs of the most vulnerable people in Sierra Leone, many of whom are smallholder farmers.
This donation to WFP will be used to provide food assistance to an estimated 155,000 people - 31,000 smallholder farm families - in vulnerable rural communities of Pujehun, Bonthe, Bo, Moyamba, Port Loko, Tonkolili, Kenema, Kono and Kailahun districts. Food insecure farmers will receive short-term food assistance for involvement in activities which will increase their production and marketing capacity under the Government's Smallholder Commercialization Scheme.
WFP's programme in Sierra Leone is one of nine WFP operations to receive funding under the EU Food Facility, which is a €1 billion fund set up to help farmers in 50 developing countries to increase their agricultural production over three years - from 2009 to 2011.
Through this initiative, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and WFP will support smallholder farmers by advocating a twin-track approach to address both short-term acute hunger spurred by high food prices and boosting longer-term food production as a durable solution.
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