Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), with funding from the Adaptation Fund through the Sahara and Sahel Observatory – OSS, organized a transformative training workshop on Monday, November 6, 2023, at Saint Joseph Technical Institute in Lunsar.

This initiative, known as the RICOWAS project, aims to address critical challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the country’s rice production industry.

The workshop focused on the adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) techniques, equipping local artisans and fabricators, particularly women and youth, with innovative tools and knowledge to enhance rice production. Recognizing the pivotal role of women and youth in agriculture, the training emphasized gender equity, ensuring their active participation and skill development in SRI techniques.

Led by Mr. Samuel Soki Harding, the RICOWAS Project Coordinator, and graced by the presence of Mr. Gerald Aruna, the Country Director of ENGIM and the SRI and Climate Resilience Rice Production Champion for Sierra Leone, the workshop highlighted the significance of these techniques in bolstering the relationship between farmers and technicians. Their efforts focused on making farming tools user-friendly and accessible to all generations.

The practicality and potential effectiveness of the tools introduced during the training were showcased through a visit to Mapity Farming Enterprise, highlighting how tools like rotary weeders could significantly impact diverse farming contexts.

Mr. Sulaiman Bah, a teacher at SJTI, stressed the importance of a symbiotic relationship between technicians and farmers, recognizing the value of training local artisans for the RICOWAS Project, aiming to bridge the gap between these skilled professionals and farmers.

This initiative marks a significant step towards improving rice production in Sierra Leone, promising to break barriers in the agricultural sector and empowering smallholder farmers, ultimately fostering stronger communities and a brighter future for all involved.