1.1 Objectives of the Project
The objective of LFM Project is to increase smallholders’ income and reduce household food insecurity by improving farmers’ production and marketing capacity. This will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
- Building smallholders’ production and marketing capacity;
- Construction and establishment of ABCs; development of new agricultural land and small-scale irrigation facilities; and rehabilitating feeder roads for better access to markets;
- Capacity building and training for MAFFS frontline extension agents and
- Provision of labour-saving and post-harvest technologies, and agricultural inputs (seed and fertilizers).
1.2 Project Description
The LFM Project is implemented in the following five districts: Bo, Bonthe, Bombali, Tonkolili, and Western Rural Areas (WRA).
The Project comprises the following four components: Value addition and diversification, Small-scale irrigation development, Feeder Roads Development & Project Management, Coordination and Consultancy Services.
- Value addition and diversification:
The objective of this sub-component is to improve smallholders’ competitiveness and productivity by providing them with improved post-harvest facilities, agricultural inputs and knowledge as well as linking smallholders to profitable markets. The employment opportunities created by increased productivity and commercialization at both the production and post-production levels is expected to be significant. This sub-component finances the establishment of 25 agricultural business centers (ABCs) and productivity enhancement packages for smallholder farmers (fertilizers, seeds, and machinery), training and capacity building activities for farmer-based organizations (FBOs) and extension agents, and procurement of 10 ten-ton trucks.
i. Establishment of Agricultural Business Centers (ABC):
ABC is a multi-purpose - “one-stop-service-centre” - providing rural communities with a place to process their agricultural produce, buy inputs and sell products, and also serves as a centre of economic service provision and social cohesion. An ABC is a farmer-owned, commercially-oriented enterprise, with the goal of eventually becoming independently viable (i.e. gaining limited liability company status). This project finances the construction of 25 ABCs: 8 rice, 5 cassava, 3 livestock, 3 poultry, 2 fisheries, 2 vegetable and 2 palm oil. Each ABC will be equipped with agricultural machinery, such as power tillers, rice haulers, rice threshers, rice cutters and cassava graters. The equipment, seeds and fertilizers will be provided on cost sharing basis between the project and the beneficiaries. These ABCs will be registered as limited liability companies with adequate capacity, infrastructure and equipment to deliver services to clients. In addition, the project will finance the procurement of ten (10) trucks of 10-ton. The trucks will be operated and managed by MAFFS district local councils in the five identified districts (project locations). FBOs will rent the services of the trucks from the local councils.
ii. Production intensification through expanded Farmer Field and Life School (FFLS) and FBO development:
The project finances the establishment and training of 125 farmer-based organizations (FBOs) (representing 3750 smallholder households). The FBOs will be supported to organize themselves and increase and diversify agricultural production, using the FFLS methodology. More specifically, the MAFFS Extension Division in partnership with Food and Agricultural Organisation will train farmers and their apex organizations on organizational development, group formation and business and financial management. FBOs will be provided with productivity enhancement packages which are adapted to their cropping system and agro-ecological zones through the ABCs. These packages comprise seeds, fertilizer, tools and machinery.
iii. Capacity building for MAFFS extension agents:
This component supports training activities for district extension personnel. These training activities, among others, will update the knowledge of the extension agents on good agricultural practices and group formation and management. These extension agents are those responsible of training the beneficiary FBOs.
1. Small-scale irrigation development:
IVSs are classified into two main groups - perennial and seasonal. Perennial swamps, which can hold water throughout the year, have potential for 2-3 crops per year, whereas seasonal swamps which hold water for some part of the year (4-7 months) have the potential for 1-2 crops per year. The project finances the development of perennial swamps with water availability of 8-9 months. The works will be conducted by youth contractors who would employ, train and supervise their peers. This will contribute to the GoSL efforts to generate employment opportunities for the young men and women in rural areas. The project targets a total of 500ha of IVS: 120ha in Bo, 130ha in Bombali, 70ha in Bonthe, 120ha in Tonkolili, and 60ha in WRA, benefiting about 300 smallholder households.
2. Feeder Roads Development:
The objective of this component is to facilitate farmers and traders physical access to markets, and increase the availability of inputs and services to remote areas. With this component the project will finance the develop a total of 597 km feeder roads in Bo (124 km), Bombali (128 km), Bonthe (17 km), Tonkolili (117 km), and WRA (114 km).
3. Project Management, Coordination and Consultancy Services:
This component finances the operational cost of the PMU and consultancy services including audit, socio-economic studies, and detailed engineering design. The PMU comprises a Project Manager, an Accountant, a Civil Engineer, an Irrigation & Land Development Officer, a Procurement Officer, a Secretary, an Office Assistant, and tree drivers. The PMU staffs, except the Project Manager and the Accountant, are recruited from within the MAFFS. The project is using the existing SCP Coordination Unit hosted in the MAFFS to provide overall coordination, supervision and monitoring. In addition, a total of 85 personnel have been engaged at the district and block levels – District Agricultural Officers (5), Block Extension Supervisors (BES) and Subject Matter Specialists (25), Field Extension Workers (50) and District Engineers (5) affiliated with Sierra Leone Road Authority. This arrangement is proposed as a safeguard to ensure timely implementation of project activities at the district level and effective supervision.
The Project has made the following achievements so far:
- Signing of MoAs with MAFFS Agricultural Extension & Engineering Divisions
- Signing of MoAs with District Agricultural Offices of Bo, Bonthe, Bombali, Tonkolili & Western Area
- Training of MAFFS Frontline Staff (Block Extension Staff & Field Extension Workers)
- Establishment of 125 farmer-based organization
- Engineering drawings and cost estimates for the construction of ABCs
- Training of Agric. Engineering field staff on IVS development
- Area mapping of identified IVS sites
- Designs and cost estimates of IVS
- Acquisition of land lease
- Follow-up meetings with stakeholders (District Councils, Community Leaders) to discuss fine details with regards feeder roads development
- Feasibility study to confirm the suitability of roads identified for development
- Road condition survey
- Inaugural meeting with stakeholders (District Councils, Community Leaders) to discuss the intensions and duration of the Project
- Recruitment of staff of the Project Management Unit (PMU) (Project Manager, Financial Management Specialist, Civil Engineer, Irrigation & Land Development Officer, M&E Specialist)
- Appointment of Block Extension Staff & Frontline Extension Workers
- Provision of support for Field Implementation (Logistics for frontline staff (motorbikes, rain gears for field staff, vehicles/motorbikes running costs and spares, emoluments for field staff)