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Smallholder Commercialisation Program (SCP)

$50 million for agricultural productivity growth through water management, improved commercialization, and improved access to affordable financial services.


Today, Sierra Leone is ranked 179 out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index, and 117 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index. Poverty remains widespread, particularly concentrated in rural and urban areas outside the capital, with close to 60% of the population living below the poverty line. Poverty is also concentrated among women and young people with around 70% of youth (aged between 15 and 35) unemployed or underemployed. The agriculture sector contributes close to 60% of GDP, with nearly half of the working-age population engaged in subsistence agriculture. However, about 26% of the population is food insecure, unable to afford a basic diet and have difficulty meeting needs. On average, households spend approximately half of their incomes on food. The climate is generally equatorial with dry and wet seasons. Close to 75% of the country is arable land, and is divided between upland and the more fertile lowland areas.


The Government of Sierra Leone developed the Smallholder Commercialization Program (SCP) as part of its National Sustainable Agriculture Development Plan. SCP is a flagship sector program aimed at empowering the rural poor to increase their food security and income on a sustain-able basis, leading to long-term economic develop-ment and poverty reduction. It focuses on the intensi-fication, diversification, and commercialization of smallholder agriculture through improving value addition and access to marketing. The project provides capacity building to extension workers and farmers utilizing Farmer Field Schools, strengthens agrobusiness centers (ABCs) that serve as bulking center for input and output marketing, equipment rental, and communication, and provides technical advisory services for production and processing. SCP provides on-farm water management including the construction of carefully planned structures such as peripheral canals, inlet and outlet structures, etc. that contribute toward the rehabilitation of perennial Inland Valley Swamps (IVS). It also strengthens IVS associations to ensure the maintenance of rehabilitated structures and trains youth contractors to carry out IVS development services. Finally, the project strengthens financial service associations and community banks to increase access to affordable financial services.

Project Status



Sierra Leone



Focus area

  • Fragility
  • Inclusive Business

Supervising entity



SCP has improved and rehabilitated irrigation and drainage services on 1,150 hectares for a total of 5,256 water users. The project is piloting and integrating climate change adaptation technologies, such as rainwater harvesting and supplementary irrigation. The project has established 15 Financial Services Associations and 4 Community Banks resulting in 34,025 clients accessing financial services, of which 42 percent are female households. It has also rehabilitated 6,300 hectares of tree crops that are disaggregated as follows: 2,800ha of cocoa, 3,000 ha of new oil palm, and 500ha of cashew plantations. Approximately 104 individuals drawn from 52 ABCs and 20 private sector players involved in different value chains have received B2B training to strengthen their collaboration. Nearly 540 youth contractors, 30 service providers, and about 12,000 people are benefitting from the cash-for-work scheme under IVS and tree crop rehabilitation. The project will contribute to job creation for young people as contractors and development service providers. The project has provided training on tree crop rehabilitation and management practices and tree nursery establishment/management for the tree crop youth contractors. Furthermore, youth are being trained and employed as operators for postharvest equipment and as management staff. The project has reached 377,412 poor people, of whom about 47 percent are women. It is expected to benefit 500,000 people, one-half of them women. The project aims to reduce the supply–demand gap in rice and increase incomes by 10 percent for 100,000 farm households.

Work with Us

The Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP) is dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in low-income countries by supporting resilient and sustainable agricultural systems that benefit and empower poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers. Since its inception in 2010, GAFSP has received contributions totaling $1.7 billion from Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with funds going to countries that have strategic, innovative, and credible plans already in place to improve agricultural productivity and food security.

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