Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs Speaks In China
Lusine Kallon, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, has disclosed in China that they are going to use agriculture as “an engine for economic growth in the country,” adding that the agricultural sector will create an opportunity for employment creation, value creation, food security, economic growth etc. (Photo: Lusine Kallon, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs in China)
Speaking at a Ministerial Workshop on China’s Development Experience for Developing Countries in 2018, Minister Kallon said, “As a government, we have realized that the country’s mineral resources have not benefited the average Sierra Leonean.”
See full speech below:
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Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I bring you greetings from the Government and people of Sierra Leone.
Let me first start by thanking the President of this great country-His Excellency Xi Jinping for his continued support to Sierra Leone. His commitment is in line with the existing relationship between our two countries spanning for over three decades.
On behalf of our President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, I say thank you and we are grateful for all the support.
As a new Government, we inherited a battered economy but with strong financial discipline, we are on track to address those challenges.
I am here to say that now is the time to transform our country.
Now is the time to bring development to our people.
Now is the time to strengthen our bilateral relationships.
Your Excellencies, China is perhaps the most prominent example of a country that has shifted from taxing to subsidizing its agricultural sector.
China’s domestic support policies for agriculture have expanded rapidly in size and scope.
A report summary from the Economic Research Service in the United States Department of Agriculture shows that China is now the leading destination for U.S. agricultural exports.
Let me commend the Government for such an impressive initiative.
China has recently released guidelines on green development in agriculture. These guidelines have set goals for resource conservation and environmental protection.
The government aims to prevent excessive exploitation of groundwater and improve the efficiency of irrigation.
Agriculture, according to the guidelines, should be more sustainable, farmers better off, and the countryside more beautiful and habitable. This is only achievable with strong committed and disciplined leadership.
I must confess that we are here to provide such quality leadership to the people of Sierra Leone.
Under the New Direction, we made a sacred promise to provide free, but quality education for all Sierra Leoneans devoid of political affiliation, region or religion. I am happy to announce to you that the Free Quality Education was launched by President Julius Maada Bio where our President donated three months of his net salary to the Free Education Trust Fund. This sacrifice is indeed a great commitment.
Today, I am proud to say that come September 2018, all Sierra Leonean children will benefit from free, but quality education.
Another sacred commitment is using agriculture as an engine for economic growth. The agricultural sector will create an opportunity for employment creation, value creation, food security, economic growth etc. As a government, we have realized that the country’s mineral resources have not benefited the average Sierra Leonean.
We are now calling on you all to support our country through agriculture. We want to use agriculture to transform Sierra Leone.
Our youth are in need of jobs and the agricultural sector has not been properly utilized. This is why we need a strong partnership to achieve this objective. As a Government, we welcome your support.
Let me use this platform to assure you that we are ready to provide the enabling environment for genuine investors to invest.
I cannot end without stating that the most recent innovation in Chinese agriculture is the push into organic agriculture. This is very laudable.
The embracement of organic farming serves multiple purposes, including food safety, health benefits, export opportunities, and further provides price premiums for the produce of rural communities.
The adoption of organics has helped to stem the migration of rural workers to the cities. This migration from urban to rural areas is commendable.
It is my conviction that we would not leave here without proffering solutions for those challenges facing our respective countries.
As a Youth Ministry, we are calling on you all to provide the technical expertise, transfer of knowledge and technology to transform this sector. We are calling on you all to support our agricultural projects that will bring sustainable development to our country.
I thank you for your attention.
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