Mathaska Agricultural Project Port Loko, Sierra Leonego Back
Creating income generating activities (IGAs) and promoting education for all ages, from children and young people to parents and older adults, are some of the core goals of AIM, our local partner in Sierra Leone. AIM has long worked with local farmers, training and assisting them through ongoing support programs, to help them improve their livelihoods, increase their production and productivity and gain experience in organic farming.
The goal of the Mathaska Agricultural Project is to improve the livelihood security of Port Loko District’s farmers by increasing their skills in the sustainable management of agricultural resources. This is implemented through training sessions, including post-training follow-up sessions, and encouraging the exchange of knowledge between farmers and communities. The farmers are educated on sustainable farming, kitchen garden maintenance and composting in order to ensure long term soil fertility.
The beneficiaries of this project are mainly rice farmers in the district who are dependent on their crops as their main form of sustenance and primary source of income. As a result of recent disruptions and escalating food prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the farmers’ incomes have suffered and the availability of affordable, nutritious food has drastically declined. PfefferminzGreen and AIM’s focus is on strengthening the communities’ own skill sets in order to increase their livelihood security in a sustainable way. A successful implementation of the project will ensure that knowledge is internalized in the communities and circulated amongst more and more farmers, ensuring that they will be able to sustain their own operations for as long as they continue to farm.
This particular project comes at a time when Port Loko District’s farmers have been hit hard by the effects of climate change. As part of the Mathaska Agricultural Project, training sessions will teach them how to build on and fine tune their systems with an emphasis on composting as a basic component to establishing long term soil fertility and productive family kitchen gardens for participating households. This will create improved food and nutritional security and may also increase the incomes of the participating families and communities by providing them with the opportunity to sell any surplus produce they have cultivated.
As ever, the idea of our local partner AIM is to empower entire communities with a focus on strengthening opportunities for women. Although the agricultural project is aimed at each and every member of a community, it is envisaged that the majority of participants will be women. The project will enable them to become more self-sufficient and independent, creating further opportunities for them and empowering them to go on to lead autonomous lives.