Only 12% of our land is cultivated reveals agriculture minister
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma a year ago launched a massive cassava cultivation scheme in the country with the objective of making it economically viable.
The appointment of former Senior Adviser to the President, Prof. Monty Patrick Jones, as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) has injected active economic life into the agricultural sector as investors keep calling.
The President is expected to give his blessing to the operation of a firm that is well known in Nigeria for its investment in cassava cultivation.
The Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Monty Patrick Jones, informed farmers during his tour of the Northern Region that the firm is ready to engage them in about fifty miles radius and that four districts will benefit greatly.
He revealed that the big cassava processing industry will cultivate about five to ten hectares of cassava and will process it into bio fuel for export, wheat flour, starch etc.
The firm, the Minister said, will work with Addax Bioenergy, which is at present producing ethanol to boost the country’s development.
Prof. Jones admonished farmers to create an effective and efficient farming system that increases their yield.”You should intensify and diversify cultivation,” he said, adding that only 12% of the land is cultivated in the country.
Shifting crop rotation is one of the key messages the Minister took to farmers so as to increase production of rice and other locally cultivated commodities.
“We want to make the farmers rich people that will contribute to the growth of the economy,” he said.
“We don’t want to continue importing rice and vegetable oil to supply our forces, schools and prisoners. Our rice is the best and Government is willing to buy from farmers to supply the various sectors,” the Agriculture Minister added.
He challenged farmers that by next planting season the local rice should flood the market.
As farmers, the Minister said they must be willing to take risk to succeed and must stop slash and burning system, which destroys the environment, wildlife and affects rain fall.
The farmers promised to work with the Government in ensuring that they increase production and productivity.
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