Tonkolili takes the lead on agriculture productivity
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security was full of praise for the Mamuntha Development Farmers Association in the Kholifa Rowalla Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, where seven villages have jointly cultivated over one thousand hectares of farm rice. The Minister, Professor Patrick Monty Jones with his entourage inspected the rice farm on Friday 21st October 2016 where the hardworking farmers are currently harvesting rice for seedlings, local consumption and to sell to the market.
It can be recalled that the Minister presented the sum of Le249million to Landowners on behalf of the Magbas Sugar Company for land lease payment. Since the Chinese are yet to make use of the fertile land, the people decided to make use of the good opportunity to cultivate rice with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, which provided 680 bushels of seed rice and fertilizers.
The Minister commended the Mamuntha Farmers for helping the government in it’s food security drive, and added that it is good that other Sierra Leoneans towed the same line in order to make the country achieve agricultural productivity and commercialization.
“Tonkolili is number one. I am highly impressed to see such a vast hectares of farm rice, which will help farmers to gain a lot and the country to be food self-sufficient,” he said, and added that the Ministry will continue to provide the required support to double their yield. He further said he is ready to take Tonkolili back to the good old when it used to be a hub for food stuffs in the country.
However, the Minister took the opportunity to present cheques to farmers’ organizations in the north, which will enable them improve on their farming business.
The following organizations received Le25, 000, 000 (twenty five million Leones) each: Shield Development Group from Port Loko, Ed. Love and Co Agric Suppliers, Tawopaneh Women and Youth Farmers, Bongo Women Farmers Association, and Mabomberreh Agricultural Association in Tonkolili.
The recipients are expected to utilize the cash support for their intended purposes and at the end of the day forward a comprehensive report with supporting documents to show how the funds from government are spent.
Mr. S.T. Kamara, the Deputy Director General in the Ministry stated that he has never seen the Ministry providing cash support directly to farmers ever since he entered the Ministry over thirty years ago. He said they are providing cash support to existing farms that are doing well.
The Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Monty Jones said eighty percent of devolved funds to Local Councils should go directly to farmers in the form of seeds, fertilizers, machinery and other supports. “We are providing supports to those that are committed to increase their yield,” and added that monies will be provided to youths in each district with a blanket figure that cuts across. He said this is part of a process to increase production and productivity and improve on the wellbeing of farmers. “You should use the funds to create impact, increase production, productivity and commercialize agriculture.
The Agenda for Prosperity, he said wants farmers to be prosperous and live a happy life. Professor Jones appealed to farmers to utilize the funds well and promised that more supports will come.
The recipients commended the government for the bold step taken to provide direct cash support to farmers. They assured that Tonkolili will soon be a centre of excellence for food production in the country. They commended the Minister for his constant visit and support to farmers since he assumed office.
By Contact Tracer
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