The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone is implementing the Regional Innovation Fruit Flies Control System in West Africa Project.
Funded by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), ECOWAS and its member states, this project has achieved significant result among which, is the establishment of surveillance, watch and alert system for an effective and targeted control of Fruit Flies in the fifteen ECOWAS member countries.
The main objective of this project is to improve the incomes of West Africa Fruit and Vegetable Producers, particularly the Small Holder Farmer, to contribute to food security, poverty reduction and job creation in the sub region.
The Sierra Leone Chapter of the Regional Innovation Fruit Flies Control System in West Africa Project was officially launched on 14th December 2021, at the Makeni City Hall, Bombali District by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Ambassador, Dr. Abu Bakarr Karim.
Giving an Overview, the National Coordinator, Raymonda Johnson explained that the main expected outcome of the project is to provide management options for fruit flies, increase small producers livelihood and increase export volume of fresh mangoes, other fruits and vegetables to international markets.
She furthered that the Project which is executed between 2020 – 2024, will also address issues relating to diagnostic and molecular research on fruit fly at the Njala University.
Dr. Karim in his keynote address described the project as a food security measure that will help this country mitigate any threat in the fruit and vegetable sub sector.
He therefore encouraged the active participation of experts in Horticultural production, stating that fruits and vegetables accounts for a balance diet of millions of consumers at local and regional level and also a major source of foreign exchange and rural job creation.
The ceremony was witnessed by key stakeholders from the Universities, Research Institutions, MDA’s, Sierra Leone Police, Private Sector, Farmer Based Organizations and Agricultural Export Value Chain Operators who also significantly contributed to discussions around the project implementation.