Sesay delivers statement on Food Safety Inspection Technology for Developing Countries
Statement Delivered At the China National Research Institute of Food and Fermentation Industries, marking the Closing Ceremony of the 2013 Training Course on Food Processing and Preservation Technology for Developing Countries, Beijing 10th September 2013 by John Baimba Sesay, On behalf of Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh, Sierra Leone Embassy, People’s Republic of ChinaDistinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to register the Embassy’s profound apologies for the absence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh who is currently engaged in another official function.
With that, please permit me, to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, through the Ministry of Commerce and the China National Research Institute of Food and Fermentation Industries for organizing this training course on Food Safety Inspection Technology for Developing Countries. The decision by your institution to extend invitation to Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security is a demonstration of China’s continued support to our country’s Development Agenda, as both republics continue to enjoy over 4 decades of strong and unbroken good relations at the diplomatic level.
Mr Chairman, as a developing nation, Sierra Leone is cognizant of the need to utilize her agricultural potential and we believe that a training course of this nature is in the right direction.
Sierra Leone continues to make tremendous strides in the use of our potentials in all sectors and more especially in the agricultural sector. We have a National Sustainable Agricultural Development plan, which is a platform for increasing agricultural productivity, promotion of commercial agriculture through extension delivery systems and ensuring an efficient sector resource management.
Our Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has put in place the Smallholder Commercialization Programme, which has led to the construction of many Agricultural Business Centers across the country. These centres are equipped with mini rice mills, cassava grating machines, drying floors and water sources to assist small farmers in processing, value addition and marketing.
In addition, the provision and management of agricultural finance is not neglected. Government, in her efforts to improve farmers’ access to financial resources, has put in place and equipped Financial Services Associations (FSAs or Village Banks) across the country.
Agriculture, no doubt, contributes over 45% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs over two-thirds of the population and generates about a quarter of the export income. In recent years, there has been an increase in both the quantity and value of our agricultural export commodities. We continue to attract private agricultural investments from international companies.
Recently, the country joined the Global Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) Programme to support Food Security and Nutrition Action Plan. The Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and Health and Sanitation are playing lead role in this programme.
Mr Chairman, with this positive development, Food Processing and Preservation Technology remains a major challenge for Sierra Leone and other developing nations. We may, as a continent, produce more than enough to feed our growing population but our lack of food processing and preservation technologies is a challenge. Developing countries like Sierra Leone suffer great post harvest loss for lack of the necessary facilities and this is what our country is addressing.
Sierra Leone’s current Development Programme, through the Agenda for Prosperity looks at ways the country could move to a middle income country, to accelerate human development, reduce poverty and empower its citizenry to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
This laudable dream requires much training such as the one you have organized. We therefore see the Training Course on Food Processing and Preservation Technology for Developing Countries as a great opportunity for Sierra Leone and other countries represented here today. It is our hope that knowledge acquired from this course will be of tremendous benefit to participants and more especially our participants from Sierra Leone.
Once again, on behalf of the government and people of our country, the Republic of Sierra Leone, we are grateful to China for her support to our Development Agenda.
I thank you all.
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