President Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday 9th February 2009 welcomed Libyaís "green programme" as presented to him by Rajab Alhathi, Deputy Ambassador and Assistant Secretary General for International Cooperation, acting as Charge díAffairs for his country. The programme includes the provision of tractors, drivers, fuel, lubricants, technicians and all other necessities for ploughing the land with a bid to achieve food security and sufficiency. Eight tractors are already in-country, while two more will come in soon to start the pilot programme.
"Let me thank you and, through you, thank the leader of the revolution for his commitment to helping the farmers of africa," the President noted. He said the programme is coming at an appropriate time, as he has declared agriculture as his governmentís new priority. The President said 2009 would lead Sierra Leone to food self-sufficiecy "but only when irrigation schemes are developed for the production of two or three crops a year." And for this, the President noted, there needs to be international support as Libya is doing.
Elucidating on the programme earlier, Libyan envoy Rajab Alhathi said the people of Libya are proud of their excellent and unique relationship with the people of Sierra Leone. He said the programme is the idea of Col. Gaddaffi for the African people to achieve food sufficiency, and that Sierra Leone is one of a few countries chosen for the pilot programme.
Both parties will sign a memorandum of understanding by the end of this week.
The envoy was introduced by Presidential Affairs Minister Alpha Kanu. Also present were the Minister of Agriculture Sam Sesay and his Deputy Alie Mansaray.
The Libyan government has already earlier assisted the government of Sierra Leone with twenty tractors and had pledged to send ten more. The "green programme" is however a different project that aims to have greater Libyan support in terms of operating the machines on the ground.
¬© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.