Sierra Leone Agri-Business Initiative

What is the project about?


Agriculture should be the mainstay of Sierra Leone’s economy, with the potential to sustainably employ about 75% of the population, but a lack of a viable agricultural value chain and entrepreneurship has kept the agriculture sector at a largely subsistence level and failed to slow down the effort to reduce youth unemployment.

The Sierra Leone Agri-Business Initiative (SABI) Project, modeled after the SONGHAI Centre in Benin, seeks to transform the agricultural value chain, boost the attractiveness of the agricultural sector to youth entrepreneurs in urban and rural communities and create greater employment opportunities nationwide. The SABI model integrates training and technological innovations with production, mechanization, agro-processing, marketing, recycling, value chain improvement and related services. The Project aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Develop the productive capacity of the population through entrepreneurial training and human resource development.
  2. Develop the factors and means of agricultural production, including land management, technology uptake and social amenities.
  3. Monetize and commercialize agricultural production with credit, savings, employment and wages and the development of markets and information systems.
  4. Support pro-poor development that helps the rural poor out of a cycle of poverty.

The principal activities of the model that the SABI Project will adopt and adapt in line with national needs are:

  • Training in agricultural entrepreneurship including in:
    • Plant, animal and aquaculture production
    • Food processing and packaging
    • Manufacturing and maintenance of agricultural machinery and tools
    • Marketing
  • Development and use of renewable energy (solar and biogas)
  • Technological and managerial support to start up new agri-businesses and expand established ones
  • Collaboration with other institutions in Research and Development of appropriate agricultural and agro-industrial technologies
  • Information technology applications in agriculture

 The SABI Project expects to achieve the following results by the end of 2014:

  • A national agri-business centre established in Newton and satellites established in the districts, providing services in line with national needs.
  • Viable agri-businesses established in the country to create employment along selected agri-value chains.
  • Increased access to agri-business financing, marketing and business development services.
  • Improved business environment for Small and Medium Enterprises, facilitating the proliferation of viable agri-businesses.  

Accomplishments so far

Since the Project was launched in 2010, it has achieved the following important results:

  • In 2011, 15 SABI candidates were trained for three months in Benin on the Songhai model, equipping them with the technical skills required to kick-off agricultural production activities at the SABI Centre in Newton.
  • UNDP supported the establishment of vital structures and Units at the SABI Centre, including: an administrative centre, student hostel, canteen, telecentre and internet café, mechanical workshop, piggery and poultry farm, inland valley services unit, market garden unit, maize farm, cassava farm, pineapple farm and palm oil processing unit.
  • The Centre provided training on the operation and maintenance of farming machinery and equipment to 96 youth in various Agricultural Business Centres supported by the Government of Sierra Leone’s Smallholder Commercialization Programme.
  • The SABI Centre began agricultural production in June 2012, generating revenues to ensure its sustainability. In the third quarter of 2012, the SABI palm oil processing unit produced 2,250 litres of palm oil and six hectares of maize was harvested. The SABI Centre also cultivated one hectare of pineapples with support from UNDP in 2012. Proceeds from sales of the products have contributed to the sustainability of the SABI Centre, and its continued operations.

Who finances it?

Year Donor Amount Contributed
2011 UNDP US$ 250,000
2012 UNDP US$ 250,000

Delivery in previous fiscal years

Year Total Delivery
2011 US$ 250,000
2012 US$ 237,403
Project Overview
Closed in 2012
Project start date:
January 1 2010
Project end date:
December 31 2012
Geographic coverage:
UN Transitional Joint Vision Programme Cluster
Cluster 2: Agriculture and Food Security
Cluster 7: Economic Development and Employment
1, 3 and 8
Focal point:
Marbey Sartie
Programme Analyst
Recovery for Development Unit
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security; National Youth Commission; Ministry of Youth Employment and Sports
Budget (2014):
Related Documents
Project Document