Hope has come alive for the West African country, Sierra Leone as another cassava processing center has been establish there. This will help to strengthen the value chain and boost the processing of the root crop.
This revelation was made at the inauguration of the centre which is part of a bigger project that is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) but being implemented in seven African countries by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
The goal for establishing the processing center is to cushion the negative impact of the 2007/2008 food price crisis that precipitated into food riots in some countries of the region.
The micro-processing centre which is located in Sagila, Kailahun District—about eight hours drive from Freetown in eastern Sierra Leone, will among other things absorb and process cassava roots being produced by resource-poor farmers in that community.
Project Will Help Transform the Local Community
Speaking at the event, Senior Program Officer with the Catholic Relief Service which partnered with IITA, Ibrahim Tarawally said: “We are glad and we are saying thanks to the American people in the construction of the micro-processing center, as the project will help transform the local community.”
He noted that since 2008, IITA and partners working on the ‘Unleashing the Power of Cassava in Africa’ (UPoCA) project with support from the USAID have stepped up efforts in rebuilding Sierra Leone—a country once ravaged by war— by improving crops’ yield, and creating wealth in local communities through cassava value addition activities.
Cassava Production in Sierra Leone
“Consequently, cassava production in Sierra Leone has increased prompting the need for value addition and diversification of cassava utilization. We are happy for your pledge to keep this center running, “ Tarawally said
Also speaking at the event, the Paramount Chief of Sagila, Chief MK Mustapha stated: “Currently, we have cassava on our farms that are rotting in the ground but with this processing center, the situation will change.”
He said that apart from processing the cassava in the community, the center will also create jobs for youths.
Chairman, Moamaleh Farmers Marketing Association, Mohammed Vande in his own contribution said that with the center and the products they'll be producing, they are sure that poverty will be reduced in the community. “We also promise to make this enterprise viable.”