The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper - A National Programme for Food Security, Job Creation and Good Governance (PRSP) is a cross-sectoral national strategy paper of Sierra Leone. It is in force for the period of 2005-2007. Its main objective is to address the poverty challenges and attain food security and create employment opportunities.Achieving food security is at the heart of Sierra Leone’s poverty reduction strategy in the next three years. The government’s overall objective in the period is to reduce hunger and malnutrition and accelerate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Attaining food security will contribute significantly to the attainment of other important poverty reduction goals, especially the reduction of child malnutrition and mortality and improvement in maternal health on a sustainable basis. According to the PRSP, addressing food security requires coordinated short and medium term strategies and measures in the key sectors that influence the various dimensions of the country’s food problems. Interventions will include addressing availability and sustainability of food supply and accessibility at the household and national levels in the short to medium term. Some of these strategies have been adequately elaborated in the Government’s Food Security Strategy elaborated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The short and medium term strategies will be combined with other sectoral interventions, including incentives and facilities to attract private sector investment in agricultural production, to ensure sustainability in increased food production, create rural jobs and income for growth in agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors.A Right to Food Secretariat (RFS) has already been set up by the Government and its partners to support the coordination of activities in the food security sector. The work of this Secretariat will be strengthened to maximise the synergy among the productive, infrastructure and social sector activities that will accelerate the achievement of food security within the medium term.In the fisheries sub-sector, government’s short and medium objective is to increase supply of fish to the domestic market and for export. The strategy is to support fishermen and women engaged in both the artisanal and aquaculture sub-sectors with essential inputs and skills training in processing. In the marine sub-sector, the thrust is to maximise fish landing for export and the domestic market. A major investment proposal is the construction of a modern fishing harbour in Freetown to support this strategy.In the agricultural sector, the short term objectives of government intervention are diversification of the crop mix in the uplands, and intensification of production from the small hectares cultivated in the lowlands. This will be achieved through the introduction of new technology, input provision through credible farmers’ associations at the local level, and targeted extension support, especially to the unemployed youth and the small-scale farmers. More vulnerable farmers will also be targeted with food-for-work. This will contribute to an increase in food production to tackle hunger at household level in the rural areas in the short term. The Government will also continue to encourage private sector investment in agriculture, especially for the production of food for the market, in the short term. Provision of inputs and appropriate farm machinery on a cost recovery basis or favourable credit terms as appropriate and extension support will be central to this strategy. Also, government will work through local authorities to facilitate access by private sector operators to land for commercial cultivation and markets and storage facilities.In the medium term, support to small-scale farmers will aim at increasing their capacity to produce enough to meet their own input needs directly or through established input and output markets. Emphasis will also be placed on increasing the stability and reliability of food supplies through a comprehensive feeder (farm-to-market) roads programme and the provision of market, storage and drying floor infrastructure in all chiefdoms in the country. Operations research and development, land development and use, and extensive training of extension staff and farmers will also be pursued.A large number of institutions will be involved in the implementation of the programmes in the PRSP at all levels – national, district, chiefdom and ward – to reflect the diversity of interests expressed in the participatory phase of the process. The coordination and implementation arrangements will be structured in a flexible manner to accommodate the diverse entities in Government, civil society, local communities and the private sector. The institutional framework supporting the M&E system will involve many agencies both within the public sector (line ministries, commissions, local councils, etc.) and without (NGOs, CBOs, CSOs) to reflect the broad interest generated in the PRSP, the participatory approach used in its preparation and the transparency in governance espoused by government. The M&E framework will involve greater coordination of efforts of all the institutions.
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