Hungry Sierra Leoneans Celebrate World Food Day

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Sierra Leone has joined the world to celebrate World Food Day, at a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security in partnership with Sun Secretariat.

It is no secret that the level of hungry in all corner of the country is unexplainable and the manner in which the cost of basic food items like rice, bread and garie among others is increasing is unimaginable.

The event was graced by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ministry of Trade and Industry, FAO, Helen Keller International, UN Family, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Development and Economic Planning.

At the event, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh thanked and appreciated farmers from across the country who traveled from their various regions to grace the wonderful celebration.

He commended the Ministry of Agriculture and line ministries who came together to ensure that the celebration was a success.

Dr. Juldeh Jalloh stated that World Food Day celebrations have been observed for decades but this one is special and very important as it is the only celebration that urged the United Nations to hold Food Summit in New York to deliberate on the effects and possible solutions to food shortage in the world, and to also set a road map on how to make the world food self-sufficient.

He maintained that opposition parties have been blaming the government for the increase in prices of commodities in the country knowing fully that such increments are caused by global price hikes.

He described food production as an important component in alleviating poverty in a country, that was why President Julius Maada Bio focused his key priorities on Human Capital Development targeting Agriculture, Education, Health among others.

Dr. Jalloh disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the world seriously. “We have to grow what we eat and eat what we grow. It’s high time we stop depending on other nations for the importation of food; the world is starving today due to crisis in food during this pandemic,” he said.

The vice president used the forum as an opportunity to catalogue the successes the New Direction government has attained over the past few years. He revealed that this government has invested a lot in Health, Education, Agriculture, Economic Transformation and Corruption among others.

Chairman Kono District Council, Solomon Gbondo praised the vice president and other stakeholders for choosing Kono as the venue to host this year’s World Food Day celebrations.

He stated that its time Sierra Leoneans start to grow what they eat and eat what they grow as with that food security will be attained.

He revealed that food production is not the problem in Sierra Leone but that post-harvest challenges, as immediately after harvest, farmers eat almost all that which they planted.

He appealed to the farmers and the authorities to continue to put premium on agriculture and pleaded with the president to do more to make Sierra Leone food secure.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Theresa Dicks expressed her appreciation to the farmers leaving their various areas to travel to Kono to celebrate the day.

She thanked the vice president who graciously accepted to celebrate with the farmers. Dr. Dicks described this year’s celebration as strategic as the world all over is working towards ensuring that food self-sufficiency is attained.

She maintained that the agriculture ministry alone cannot provide food for every Sierra Leonean that was why the ministry has had a policy shift in partnering with the private sector.

“Private sector partnership will give even farmers the opportunity to benefit from whatever the government is involved in,” she said, adding that government has invested a lot in agriculture over the past three years and they are committed to do more.

She assured the vice president and other stakeholders of a wonderful celebration and urged the delegations to visit all the booths and enjoy the wonderful products of Sierra Leonean farmers.

Deputy Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ibrahim Turay described the theme for this year’s celebration “Our action are our future, better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life” as timely and could not have come at a much better time.

He revealed that fish is the largest source of animal protein in Sierra Leone, which is why the government of President Bio is putting premium on the fisheries sector with a view to improving food and nutritional security and diversification of country’s economy.

“We have an opportunity as a country to change the narrative and bring back our once prosperous agriculture and fisheries to an ecologically sustainable and economically efficient level in the country,” he said.