Agric Ministry in mass road construction
One of the impeding factors to agricultural development in Sierra Leone has been the lack of feeder roads for farmers to take their produce to market centers. In a bid to address the deplorable condition of feeder roads in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) has told journalists at a press conference held at the Ministry’s Conference room on Tuesday 27th July 2010 that a distance of 1, 234 km of feeder roads are under construction by the ministry, as feeder road construction has now become a policy in the ministry.
Speaking at the press briefing, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sam Sesay (in photo) spoke about the indispensable need for feeder roads to promote agriculture in Sierra Leone, adding that inaccessible road for farmers to take their goods to market centers on time has been the main obstacle to the growth of agriculture in the country.
The minister further emphasized the need for feeder roads so that farmers can access market centres on time, since some produce are perishable. Dr. Sesay also confirmed that initially, the issue of feeder road construction was neglected but now that it has become a policy under his ministry they would make sure that more attention is paid to feeder road construction including the maintenance of bad ones.
He intimated journalists that at present over 200 produce producing areas are being targeted in order to reach over 2,000 market centres. The Agriculture Minister ended by assuring agriculture development oriented Sierra Leoneans that his ministry has engaged other partners as to how to improve feeder roads that would connect producing areas as priority.
Further dilating on the same feeder road project, the deputy minister of Agriculture, Mr. Alie- Badara Mansaray gave an over view of the ministry’s activities in terms of feeder roads construction and rehabilitation. He intimated that the feeder road construction will be targeting the whole country where produce come from.
He said MAFFS is working with implementing and construction partners like the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and Local Councils so that the pressing needs of every agricultural producing area would be addressed.
Mr. Badara Mansaray disclosed that this year alone the distance of 1,234 kilo meter feeder roads are being targeted and 41% of that target have been achieved.
Minister Mansaray also explained that the project is funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the World Bank.
During a brief video clip, the feeder roads under construction from Kailahun to Pendembu and from Kailahun to Mafindor in the Kono district were shown to the audience.
Speaking to one of the contractors on site, he told viewers that the Kailahun- Pendembu road, especially the deplorable “Tigo spot” has been fixed as vehicle as low as Sony brand can now ply the road without any hindrance.
Mr. Mansaray confirmed the number of culverts at Mafindor Chiefdom in Kono district, adding that his next area of call will be places like Bonthe, Pujehun and other fertile agricultural producing areas.
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