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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone President Moves towards Agricultural Improvement
By Abdul Fonti
Oct 16, 2009, 16:03
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President of the Republic of Sierra Leone has assured the citizens that his government will ensure that the agricultural sector improves the lives of our people, enhances food security, and takes its rightful place as a primary engine of our socio-economic transformation.


Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma disclosed, during the State Opening of the Third Session of the Third Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, that   agriculture employs more than three-quarters of the population.

 


President Koroma is trying to champion
Sierra Leone into Agriculture

The President said since his last address in parliament last year, his government has ensured that over 62,000 acres of rice fields have been ploughed, a 35% increase since the previous year.


According to His Excellency the President, funding for the construction of rice mills, stores and drying floors countrywide has been secured by his government.


Following the highest ever recovery of seed rice last year, more than 90,000 bushels have again been distributed to farmers. The Rokupr Agricultural Laboratory has been upgraded to one of the best in Africa. We have procured 265 tractors and 30 motor bikes through a line of credit from the Indian Government. In addition, 58 power tillers and 23 new combined harvesters have been procured and pre-positioned in strategic areas of the country. The reform of farmer-based organizations has moved forward, with the establishment of the National Federation of Farmers, President Koroma outlined some of his achievements.


In recognition of our efforts, we have been named champion of agriculture in the continent, with a mandate to advocate for the prioritization of Agriculture, he beamingly asserted, whilst emphasizing on the must to repay the trust that has been placed in the country by being a role model for the continent in increasing production and productivity.


His government, President Koroma furthered, continues to encourage the private sector to engage boldly in the commercialisation of agriculture.


While the increasing expression of interest by foreign investors for large scale farming is welcome, we are also examining the long and short term implications in order to adopt an appropriate policy that will protect the interests of the investor and our future generations.


My government is also interested in ensuring that each chiefdom has a chiefdom farm, communally supported, with proceeds utilized for projects within the chiefdom. My government will support these ventures, and we will also encourage large investors, just as in the case of the mining sector, to manifest corporate social responsibility in support of these farms, the President told parliament.


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