Sierra Leone being a member of the Food and Agricultural Organization, on Friday 28th October 2016 joined the rest of the world to observe World Food Day on the theme: “Climate is changing, food and agriculture must too”.
Sheku Tejan Kamara is the Deputy Director General in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security. He revealed that the day has always been used as a period to enable farmers showcase their produce, meet with key stakeholders of the agriculture sector as well as acquire new technologies that will enhance their farming operations. At the administrative level, he said the World Food Day celebration has been used to reach the wider public.
Highlighting the key developments in the Ministry, Mr. S.T. Kamara named the following success activities: establishment of 1,218 Farmers Field Schools as schemes to train farmers on production technologies in order to acquire skills for production; organization and support of 1,218 farmer Based Organizations to serve as entities for direct engagement in production and processing; establishment of 402 Agricultural Business Centers to operate as commercial entities along the agricultural value chain of inputs supply, processing and marketing; rehabilitation of 5548 hectares of inland valley swamps to enable farmers do year-round cultivation of food crops for higher production and incomes leading to better food security and poverty reduction; rehabilitation of over 2,757 kilometres of feeder roads, bridges and culverts to allow the free movement of farmers, inputs and products to access production areas, processing centres and markets; establishment of 51 Financial Services Associations and 17 Community Banks for easing rural people including farmers’ access to financial services for their operations; establishment and support of Technical Assistance Agency to oversee the operations of the Financial Services Associations and the Community Banks; Implementation of the Smallholder Commercialization Programme (SCP) completed and the Inclusive Comprehensive Agriculture Development Programme (ICADEP) which is aligning all project activities, development partners and Non-Governmental Organizations to the national priorities of the agriculture sector under the Agenda for Prosperity; establishment and maintenance of 2,051 hectares of forest trees to increase the forest cover to reduce land degradation and increase the land available for agricultural crop production activities in the country; and establishment of the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) to protect and conserve forest resources.
Mr. Kamara further said the low yields or agricultural productivity in partly caused by the use of poor and traditional planting materials including seeds, which is why the Ministry established the Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency (SLeSCA) and the National Seed Board in order to enforce seed quality as key strategy for increasing agricultural productivity and production.
The Ministry, he said has been promoting the private sector, which has brought the following entities into operations: Addax Bioenergy and Magbas Complex (doing sugarcane) in the Bombali and Tonkilili Districts; Gold Tree in Kailahun District and SOCFIN in Pujehun District (doing Oil Palm); Genesis in Tonkolili District and ARUL in Moyamba District (doing rice); First Step Factory in Newton doing juice from fruits; Pajah Poultry in Western Rural; SIERRA AKKER Poultry Limited in Koya Rural District; Lion Mountains in Bo District and Mountain Lion in Makeni, which are promoting largescale rice farming, mopping up, processing, packaging and marketing.