Sierra Leone: FAO Commences 2nd Phase of Blended Learning Programme On Responsible Agriculture Investment for 40 Participants From Liberia & Sierra Leone

Monrovia — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Liberia with support from its Headquarters in Rome and the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture on Monday 15th November commenced Phase Two of a four-day Blended Learning Programme on Responsible Agriculture Investment (RAI) at the Farmington Hotel, Robert International Airfield in Liberia. The learning programme brought together forty policy makers and government officials as participants drawn from government Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Justice, Departments of Forestry and Agriculture Investment Agencies from both Liberia and Sierra Leone. The learning session is held on the theme: "Creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems"

According to one of the leading facilitators who doubles as the Capacity Development Officer at the HQ, Nicodemi, Chiara said the second phase of blended learning programme on Responsible Agriculture Investment (RAI) followed the first phase of online learning. In her overview of the four day learning session, she said the program aims to enhance the capacities of government authorities in facilitating and promoting responsible agriculture investments in sustainable way by building on skills acquired during the 1st phase to strengthen & consolidate skills to enable participants from Liberia and Sierra Leone in refining roadmaps & ensuring they are fully equipped to translate knowledge acquired into concrete action.

The key objective of the blended learning programme, is geared towards deepening knowledge on the principles of responsible agriculture investments, assess the countries' processes and activities related to RAI, identify challenges, solutions and priorities, building networks, committing to behavioural changes and developing action plans for achieving more investments in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the official opening session of the workshop, the FAO Country Representative reminds the gathering that the learning programme is organized at a very timely moment having COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized years of progress made in reducing hunger and poverty. She said many workers, particularly young women and men have lost their jobs and farmers have incurred substantial income losses. Amidst these setbacks, the FAO Country Representative reiterated FAO's commitment to support its members in "building back better", and contributing to a more equitable, resilient and performant post COVID-19 economic growth. "In our countries - Liberia and Sierra Leone - "building back better" requires more responsible investments in agriculture and food systems, which are the principal sources of income and employment". Madam Njie added as people we need to work together to stimulate, promote and facilitate investments which will improve our food security, create decent employment opportunities, particularly for young women and men, increase resilience to climate change, and increase value addition in strategic supply chains.

She describes the blended learning programme as another milestone in FAO's efforts to enhance the capacities of our members to promote more responsible investments. "It is part of a multi-year programme implemented with the generous support of the Federal Republic of Germany. It aims at strengthening capacities of state and non-state actors to apply the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems. These Principles have been developed following an inclusive multi-stakeholder process in the UN Committee on World Food Security" said the FAO Country Representative. As she concluded, she reminded participants that FAO looks forward to receiving from the participants refined action plans to maximize the benefits of investment in agriculture while curtailing the unintended negative consequences of such investment in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Whiles launching the four days Blended Learning Programme, the Acting Minister of Agriculture - (for Planning and Development), Robert Fargans, describes the efforts of FAO in propagating and supporting actualization of responsible agriculture investment as crucial for Liberia and the African continent as a whole, as it helps to place and manage our resources in responsible and sustainable manner. The Deputy Minister for Planning and Development pledged his Ministry's support in creating enabling environment to promoting Responsible Agriculture Investment and food systems in Liberia. "I am hoping the participants from both countries will take the training serious," concludes Minister Fargans.

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