Bread for the World advocate Brendan Rice has worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the last few years. While his current assignment is at the FAO's headquarters in Rome, he previously spent a year working on a project to develop agricultural business centers in Sierra Leone. This concept of developing cooperatives or marketing clusters is also promoted by Catholic Relief Services in Malawi. Here is a video that Rice made about the agricultural business centers in Sierra Leone.
Rice said cooperative efforts are exciting because they allow farmers to market their produce together and share storage and equipment-rental costs. But the marketing process is just the beginning. In Sierra Leone, there are many challenges, including a major obstacle to the final stage of the marketing process, which is getting the product to the consumer. "No one can buy the products because the roads are so bad," said Rice.
This is a perfect example of where poverty-focused development assistance would come into play.
Funding the construction and repair of roads and other important infrastructure in rural sub-Saharan Africa would go a long way toward supporting the farmers in the region.