Researchers plan messages to increase adoption of cassava flour in Sierra Leone

SARD-SC, Participants at the message planning workshop in Sierra LeoneScientists from IITA and partners held a three-day meeting in Sierra Leone developing messages and story lines that would spur the adoption and use of high quality cassava flour in the country.

The meeting which was organized by SARD SC cassava project and facilitated by the partner organization “Advocacy Action for Sustainable Development” (the Sierra Leonean based national non-governmental organization”— in collaboration with IITA, Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), and the Sierra Leonean Chamber of Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD) attracted participants from Fourah Bay College, farmers, processors, marketers and the private sector. The three day workshop was held from the 27th to 29th March 2014, and it had 30 participants in attendance.

To better understand key issues in cassava production, researchers gave presentations on the value chain of cassava in Sierra Leone and also shared experiences on production from other parts of the world including Nigeria, Brazil and Thailand.
Addressing participants, Sylvanus Fannah, Agronomist / Natural Resource Manager, SARD-SC Cassava Project, observed that though cassava is a key crop in Sierra Leone, the value chain of the root crop has not been fully exploited.  He gave a presentation highlighting the contributions of IITA and partners such as SLARI and SLeCAD to the agricultural development in Sierra Leone, citing the introductions of improved cassava varieties and the construction of cassava microprocessing centers as some of the interventions by the Institute.

The three day workshop which is being implemented under the leadership of Dr Braima James, IITA Country Representative for Sierra Leone is being funded by the Support for Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops (SARD SC), and the key outcome is to:
• Popularize the value chain of cassava to acquire the HQCF.
• Popularize the local content policy using cassava as an entry point to promote small farmer commercialization for wealth creation.

Ambrose James, Director for AASD said messages developed would be shared with radio/TV stations country wide, used for drama, video documentary and jingles.