Australia will provide support to help peace building initiatives in the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone.
Australia’s contribution of $1.5 million, made through the United Nations, will support Sierra Leone’s National Sustainable Agriculture Development Plan, which aims to commercialise the agriculture sector and provide much needed employment in the country.
"The potential for Sierra Leone’s large unemployed youth population to come under political or criminal influence is of serious concern," said Mr Gary Quinlan, Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York.
"Improving employment opportunities, especially for youth, has been identified by the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission as a priority for ensuring ongoing peace in Sierra Leone," Mr Quinlan said.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Development Plan proposes the creation of Agriculture Business Centres. The centres are designed to give smallholders combined access to milling and processing machinery, as well as a common marketing strategy.
Australia’s funding will help the Sierra Leone Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security to coordinate all elements of the plan and to work more effectively with other government departments, the United Nations and international donors.
As part of its enhanced engagement with Africa, the Australia Government is committed to assist wherever possible to improve the peace and security of Sierra Leone.
This contribution is part of the $6 million announced by the Australian Government in January 2010 to support peacebuilding efforts being undertaken by the United Nations.
Australia also supported the elections in Burundi as part of its work as a member of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.Media enquiries: For further information, please contact Mr Ian Gould, Third Secretary at the Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana on +233 (0) 302 216
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