AFC Team Leader Bert Smit explaining the epp Value chain component
In March 2017, the third phase of GIZ’s Employment Promotion Programme in Sierra Leone, where AFC is responsible for implementing the agricultural value chains component, was officially launched. Although the programme had already started in August 2016, this was an important moment where the project was presented to local stakeholders in the three districts in Sierra Leone where the activities will take place: Kailahun, Koinadugu and Kono.
In the project, which will run until July 2020, AFC will strengthen the value chains of cocoa & coffee, rice, and vegetables, thus creating employment opportunities for young people in areas ravaged by civil war and ebola. Specifically, we will be working on rehabilitating abandoned and neglected plantations, training farmers in production, plantation management and entrepreneurship (in partnership with GEFAK GmbH), creating links with businesses, and promoting the approach through national and international networks.
The programme launch was well attended. After the AFC experts explained the project, there were lively discussions between local government, traditional chiefs, extensionists from the Ministry of Agriculture, and partner NGOs about how to move forward on strengthening the value chains. Sierra Leone has great potential, with normally plenty of rainfall and high market demand for these agricultural products. Two long-time international experts and 20 people local staff are working hard to transform this potential into sustainable employment opportunities for local youth.