AfDB and GoSL poised to fight rice insufficiency in Sierra Leone

As part of the project strategy to promote stakeholder ownership, participation and sustainability of interventions, the Rice Agro Industrial Cluster (SL RAIC) project, in close collaboration with the Executing Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, organized a two-day Inception Workshop at De Wizzard Complex, Bo City, from the 28th – 29th October, 2022. The Inception Workshop engaged primary and secondary stakeholders to understand the project result areas, objectives, deliverables and implementation strategy. In attendance were the Paramount Chiefs, District Council Deputy Chairpersons, Hon. Members of Parliament, youth and women’s leaders, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Gender and Youths, farmers, processors etc from Bonthe and Pujehun districts.

In his keynote address, the Hon Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Abu Bakar Karim, acknowledged the pivotal role played by H.E Dr. Julius Maada Wonnie Bio in securing the project. The Rice Agro-Industrial Cluster (SL RAIC) Project is an outcome of critical and strategic engagements between H.E Julius Maada Bio and the President of the Africa Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, during a 2020 visit on how to transform agriculture in Sierra Leone, he opined. He implored the Project Implementation Unit to work tirelessly with all stakeholders to ensure this Project – a realization of the dreams of President Bio and President Adesina for Sierra Leone (work for all Sierra Leoneans).

The Project Manager, John Maada Paul Sinah, explained the purpose of the Inception workshop: “We are here today to unveil the project package and solicit commitment from stakeholders to support the project during and post implementation”, he mentioned. The project seeks to increase rice production and improve the value chain through the processing of high-quality rice that will compete with imported rice

“Today is a remarkable and memorable day in the history of Bum and Kpanga Chiefdoms, because this is the first government project that has demonstrated transparency, fairness and accountability at the inception of the project”, echoed the Deputy District Council Chairman of Bonthe District. All the stakeholders present expressed their unwavering support to the project throughout the implementation.

I am excited and elated about the commitment and resounding sentiments echoed by stakeholders during the workshop,” said the Project Manager. He then assured the stakeholders that the project will be beneficiary-centric, hence the People’s Project.

The Rice Agro Industrial Cluster (SL RAIC) project is a five-year inclusive and sustainable rice value chain project funded by African Development Bank(AfDB) and the Government of Sierra Leone, and is implemented in Bonthe and Pujehun districts, targeting smallholder producers, processors, MSMEs, agriculture organizations, fabricators, private sector, Njala University etc.

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