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Agriculture takes over economy

Agriculture takes over economy

The Government of Sierra Leone, Sierra Express has been informed, intends to make agriculture its number one priority; a move experts say if implemented with current plans will be enough to rejuvenate the country’s sleazy economy.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay has in Freetown revealed that the Food and Agricultural Organization/European Union Food Facility Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has given a massive boost to small hold farmers in the country. The programme it has been revealed is geared towards the commercialization of small hold farmers, a move that is expected to raise the stake of farmers in the current economic drive of the country.

The Country Coordinator of the Programme Ugandan born David Mwesigwa has in an interview with Sierra Express Media said that the European Union and the Food and Agricultural Programme are keen on supporting the country’s food security dream by ensuring that the programme succeeds to change small holder farmers from subsistence farming into market oriented farming, providing the base for economic transformation in Sierra Leone.

This according to the Western Area Director of the programme Haja Adama Kamara will be achieved by making sure that over 150 Agricultural Business Centres that are presently being erected throughout the country come to fusion and functioning. As a kick off to the programme, this media has learnt that over 20 District Coordinators are being trained in Makali that are to cover districts in the North, Kono and the Western Area. Similar training it has also been revealed is presently been conducted at Lambayama in Kenema for District Coordinators covering Kailahun, Kenema, Bo, Bonthe and Moyamba districts.

The trainer according to DAO is Jenefer Hire from Uganda who he noted has been working with Agricultural Business Centre and the Famers Field School Programmes for a very long time now but is to be aided by a Sierra Leonean Trainer Patrict T. Ballay.

The programme it has further been learnt will be working with organizations like the Farmers Field Schools, District Women Farmers Cooperatives, National Union of Farmers (NAFCU) Farmers Business Units who it said will be coming together to form an umbrella Farmers Based Organization. The erection of the Agricultural Business Centre it said will form the nucleus of the whole programme.

Frederick Hazley (District Coordinator Western District) who this Press met in one of the sites of the Agricultural Business Centres at Kwama concluded that whilst the programme will be offering all other building materials and providing seeds and other inputs, it expected that there will be community participation wherein local materials will have to be given by the community where these structures will be erected.

Meanwhile, SEM has also learnt that the President of the Republic Ernest Bai Koroma has set up a task force to be monitoring the success of the programme owing to its significance to national development.

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