The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Prof. Monty Jones said nearly two-third of the country’s population depends on agriculture for its livelihood and it’s responsible for almost half of the country’s GDP.
He made this statement on Thursday 18th May, 2017 when giving the Ministry annual report to the oversight committee on Agriculture in parliament at administrative building.
The acting chairman of the committee on agriculture in parliament, Hon. Aaron A. Koroma in his opening statement said that the committee is not meant to witch hot any Ministries, Department or Agencies (MDAs) but to add values to their work for the people of this country.
He added that there a lot of miss conception about what the ministry of agriculture and their agencies are doing in their various constituencies and the members of parliament has to be informed in order to be in the position that they can answer to their constituents.
“We are the people’s representative and that is what we have been sent to parliament for good representation”. He ended.
Prof. Jones continues added that it follows therefore that economic growth and poverty reduction in Sierra Leone will only be sustained with developments in the agricultural sector.
He informed that as the sector expands, it will stimulate growth in other sectors through increased demand for tools and chemicals as well as providing raw materials for agro-based industries and, it will generate employment along the agricultural value chain of input supply, production, agro-processing and marketing including exportation.
He said that to improve agricultural productivity, prominence is given to value-chain development by enhancing processing and marketing capabilities and to this end, the Ministry has approached the development Partners to develop and implement an integrated Agricultural transformation Programme, focusing on input like supply and distribution system including equipment leasing and hiring de-risking and financing mechanism for agric-businesses setting up an agro-industrial bank, food production and post-harvest processing and marketing and also development of aquaculture.
He disclosed that in order to reduce the importation of food items especially onions, Irish potato and cooking oil, government will operationalize the large belt for onion production in Lokomasama, Kamakwie Kamalo, Makeni and Kabala.
He added that support will also be provided to small-scale farmers to increase yields of groundnut and soya beans to produce cooking oil and government through Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security will encourage the harvesting and processing of wild oil palm fruit found all over the country which is God’s gift to Sierra Leone.
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