WARC’s training farm is where new production systems are tested and subsistence farmers trained into best-in-class farming technologies.
It is a fact that rice is a staple food in Sierra Leone. It is also a fact that over 95% of farmers are below subsistence, resulting in 40% of kids being stunted. They simply go to bed hungry and often, simply too often. But most of all, it is a also a fact that Sierra Leone is blessed with great resources to produce more than enough to feed itself.
The primary production of rice and other crops is at the heart of WARC's core model. We have a fully operational 1,500+ Ha training farm in Tormabum, rural Sierra Leone, where we employ over 160 full-time farmers and have impacted thousands more.
WARC sets up a large training farm where a new production system is proven (e.g. crop rotations & new crops). The farm's crops are sold and the farm is profitable as a stand alone. The inflows are used to fund the training of smallholders, in cohorts of 60-120 trainees. Some are trained on agronomics (e.g. no-till, use of inputs), others in management (e.g. processes, marketing, excel & record keeping) and others on machinery maintenance & operation.
After 3 years of paid training, the farmers, now managers, graduate to an SDU. This provides full best-in-class farming packages (using the training farm's technology & infrastructure) to up to 3,000 smallholders. These packages include inputs (e.g. hybrid seeds), land services (e.g. harvesting and no-till planting) and technical assistance. Finance is mobilised through WARC and 3Ps so that farmers can buy that package on loan. The SDUs are profitable as a standalone unit.
Every 3 years, a new SDU is born in each training farm, each with a new cohort of trainees. New training farms are built in Sierra Leone, each giving birth to new SDUs. Geographic expansion follows, by replicating the same model in new countries of the region. The first replication is targeted for Ghana in 2019.
WARC is a social enterprise with the goal of increasing agricultural production levels through the empowerment and development of the local community.
We choose carefully the crops we and our farmers produce, ensuring that they are complementary to the soils, the environment, and at the same time integrating harvests to related value-chains, such as poultry and fish farming.
We believe that Africa, in particular Sierra Leone, presents a unique opportunity for new models of smart agriculture that can be both profitable and able to relieve hunger and poverty.
Most rice in Sierra Leone is imported from countries all over the world, coming from even as far as Thailand. WARC began as a company with the singular focus of producing
more rice domestically, with the goal of one day producing enough to feed all of Sierra Leone and beyond.
WARC practices no-till farming, which is a way of growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage. This is a highly environmentally-friendly method of farming as it uses less water, decreases erosion, and increases carbon sequestration.
While maize is not an every-meal staple of the typical Sierra Leonean diet, it forms a big part of the diets of animals like fish and poultry. Producing more maize locally has large impacts on the value chain, as it lowers prices for animal protein, making a healthy, protein-rich diet more affordable for all.