Freetown-Under the European Union’s Jobs and Growth Programme, two private operators, Capitol Foods Ltd and Trading Sierra Leone Ltd as well as two Non-Government Organisations: Mankind’s Activities for Development Accreditation Movement and Solidaridad Network West Africa received grant funding to support agriculture, innovation, and technology.

At the signing and grant award ceremony at the Delegation of the European Union yesterday, EU Ambassador Manuel Müller stated that “agriculture, technology, and innovation are critical to developing an efficient manufacturing and processing industry, pulling productivity, ensuring value addition and access to the market.”

Agriculture constitutes the backbone of Sierra Leone’s economy. It is also a key sector in the partnership between the EU and Sierra Leone to promote the sustainable socio-economic development of the country.

Investments for an amount of 90 million New Leones will support the development of four key organic value chains: cocoa, cashew, pineapple, and sweet potato. It will bring value addition to the country contributing to job creation in rural areas, notably for youth and women.

According to the EU Delegation’s Head of Cooperation, Gerald Hatler, “previous EU support has allowed Sierra Leone to tap into the growing demand for organic products in Europe.

Cocoa is a concrete case where Sierra Leone has recently proved to be competitive taking advantage of the organic premium for its smallholder farmers. The Agro-tech support will pursue these EU efforts, offering high-value market opportunities for the country.”

The Agro-Tech support is part of the Jobs and Growth Programme which aims to implement a policy shift towards engaging more directly with the private sector. A kick-off meeting concluded the event, formally launching the new support and partnership between Sierra Leone and the European Union.