A joint monitoring exercise of EU funded cashew farming project in the Karene District in the North Region has been undertaken. The team comprises officials of the EU, BAFS, NAO, Ministry of Agriculture headed by the deputy minister, Mr Sam-King Brima, Solidaridad West Africa Country representative, and the Executive Director of the Produce Marketing among others
Solidaridad planted the cashews through their farmer cooperatives and with support from one of their service providers, Develop Salon (DEVSAL) in Karene district
The objective of the project is to develop a vibrant, competitive, and profitable cashew economy in the country. The EU and the government of Sierra Leone realized that cashew is one of those commercially very important tree crops that can also contribute to improving the lives of farmers and the national economy of the country.
In 2019, the EU, the Government of Sierra Leone represented by the National Authorising Officer, and Solidaridad West Africa signed the Develop a Vibrant, Competitive and Profitable Sierra Leone Cocoa, Coffee and Cashew Economy driven by Private Supply Chain Actors within a National Regulatory Framework project, through a grant agreement to develop the cash crops sector in Sierra Leone.
The European Union support to the sector was intended to develop the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for formulating food security strategies, increase sector policies, and have an efficient and effective value chain of cash crops for export, with a special focus on quality.
On the farms, Solidaridad representative addressed the monitors, cashew farmers as well as the community people present. Mr Nicholas Jengre said the lack of relevant technical expertise of cashew farmers was responsible for the low production of the crop. But he said so far, the company has planted 574,960 hybrid cocoa seedlings and 152,708 hybrid cashew seedlings. They have also trained several farmers to adopt inter-cropping into their farming activities, he said; noting that a total of 5,258 farmers have so far benefited from this EU funded project
Andrew Tucker who spoke on behalf of the NAO expressed delight over progress Solidadridad West Africa has made in one year. He admonished Solidaridad’s Implementing Partners to continue work in harmony to deliver results.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry encouraged other grantees to also showcase to the NAO, MAF, and EU their successes and challenges in their project implementation as he said that will help tackle whatever problem that may want to hinder the goal of the project
The farmers expressed appreciation over the cashew farming training given to them. With what they have acquired from the training, they can now do inter-cropping which also adds value to their farm work and provide income to improve their livelihoods.