By Phileas Jusu
April 21, 2023 | SIERRA LEONE
Global Ministries’ board of directors approved a $5 million allocation to undergird the work of the Yambasu Agriculture Initiative (YAI) in 2023. The funds come from various sources of undesignated monies that could be used for this purpose. Specific grants for African annual conferences will be approved throughout the year.
The importance of this initiative to African United Methodists can be understood by tracking the results of improved agricultural and livestock production and better business practices. Targeted training and hands-on experience give farmers concrete ways to move forward. Higher yields, healthier produce and less expensive and environmentally friendly techniques have been realized. The results have a multiplying effect across communities.
“Our project serves nine communities with more than 400 families,” YAI’s East Angola Monitoring and Evaluation officer, Gilberto Joâo Augusto Guedes, said in a recent interview. “Some communities are far away and difficult to access, preventing various services from reaching them. With YAI support, it has been possible to provide seeds, agrotechnology, and monitoring and evaluation skills.”
YAI’s intervention into the subsistence farming lives of East Angolan communities has kick-started the process for some level of economic liberation because family needs are being met through agribusiness. “Through techniques taught, the farmers have realized that they can make their own fertilizers using local materials, thereby increasing production while minimizing cost. Through the sale of farm produce, they can pay school fees for their children and improve their living conditions, including housing,” Guedes said.