Agriculture is the mainstay of the Sierra Leone economy and provides employment opportunities for 75% of the population for which Madina is no exception. The people of Madina are predominantly peasant farmers actively engaged in subsistence farming. The entire welfare of the farmer and family depends on the yield of crops that season. Part of the yield is kept as seed for the next growing season but unfortunately much of the kept portion does not survive. Yields are usually small and are insufficient to address the needs of the farmer and his family.
There is a small but significant initiative by a major international Agro Science company (Dow Agro Sciences) to assist Help Madina in agricultural development.
Some small pilot programs (look and see) have taken place involving some elementary seed propagation. These have acted as indicators only, but have been informative.
The company is looking at how small sustainable Agricultural initiates can work in rural African settings. The exercise is partially academic and partially practical. The needs of the charity are primarily linked to health via the feeding centre and village medical clinics. The agricultural element here plays synergistically with this to potentially help provide nutrition and thus may help to lower the recovery time for children suffering malnutrition and improve the general well being of the community.
In order to evaluate the needs on the ground, including the agricultural dynamics and the actual feasibility of how such an undertaking would work in practice, an African Agronomist (linked to the African Foundation) was sent by Dow Agro Sciences to Madina for a short period in October 2013.
This evaluation will enable a post graduate student from Sierra Leone, who is studying at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, to undertake the implementation of the strategy defined from findings of the Agronomist.
A sizeable portion of land has been donated by the Elders of the local community to enhance agricultural development in this area.
Help Madina is privileged to have been able to form these important links with the Royal Agricultural University and Dow Agro Sciences.