Following the Port Loko and Makeni training, The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) with support from the Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) have also extended the Market Linkages and Business to Business (B2B) training to agribusinesses, small and medium enterprises and farmer-based organizations in Bo and Kenema Cities; the training took place from the 7th to the 10th February 2019 and it was given adequate media coverage and live radio discussion for the benefit of those that were not invited.
In her welcome address, Madam Haja Alima Lukay, the Development and Planning Officer (DPO) of the Bo city Council and representative of her Mayor, appreciated the SLIEPA Team and the Participants on behalf of the political and the administrative wings of the council. She said the support of the central government and SCADeP through SLIEPA for bringing their people together to build their capacity is a welcoming development for which they are grateful.
When stating the purpose of the training, the SLIEPA Acting Director of Export Development, Mr. Boson Margai enlightened the participants that SLIEPA is an Agency of Government that promotes and facilitates investment and export. He said the Agency cannot provide financial support, but it can render technical support to agribusinesses, small and medium enterprises and farmer-based organizations.
Mr. Margai, continued saying that, the purpose of the training was to teach the participants market linkages and networking with other businesses. He said networking among businesses of the same kind will help them acquire new ideas and information about new markets. He added that the training will also expose them to market linkages to increase sales and also encourage them to add more value to their produce to meet international standards. He said there will be subsequent visits and sightseeing of their business of which they will learn the challenges of their day to day activities.
Participants at the Bo training
In declaring the training open, the Chairman SLIEPA Board of Directors, Mr. Jonathan George, expressed that SLIEPA has a huge job since it is responsible for all investment and export in the country, and that the President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, has trust in SLIEPA to become more effective and efficient in playing its part to the economic growth of Sierra Leone. Chairman George said, the President depends on the private sector to boost the country’s economy as he pronounced it in a speech during the state opening of Parliament in May 2018 that “my administration will promote competitive, fast growing liberal economy led by private sector”. He said if the participants networked well, they would do big things for the country. those dealing in poultry for instance, can’t only provide jobs for Sierra Leoneans, but can also provide food for them and by extension, can help to stabilize our economy.
During the training session, the SLIEPA, Export Development Officer and training facilitator, Mr. Jackson Kamara, took the participants through various business related topics spanning from International Trade Environment, Export Procedures and Processes, Export Financing, Trade Fairs Participation, Business to Businesses and to Incoterms.
Beneficiaries also registered their gratitude to SLIEPA and SCADeP for being an eye opener to new marketing techniques and various business strategies that will help them add more value to their produces to attract bigger markets. They said SIEPA and SCADeP have wet their desire for international trade, they therefore asked SLIEPA, SCADeP, Sierra Leone Produce and Marketing Board (SLPMB) and the Standard Bureau to monitor and provide them the technical support from the planting stage to the processing and packaging stage that they will be able to compete in international market.
Participants at Kenema Training
Margaret Moseray, a cotton famer with already six-acre cotton farm and currently cultivating fifty acers, pleaded for financial and technical support from SCADeP and to also help her with improved verities that are internationally accepted. Madam Moseray further asked SLIEPA to connect her to international market as she has an objective to start exporting Sierra Leonean cotton by next year. Other speakers as well highlighted challenges in various agribusinesses including, poultry, cacao, coffee, vegetable, etc.
© SLIEPA: Directorate of Marketing and Communication