The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay on Wednesday 22nd December, 2010 said that that since 2008, his ministry has been making tremendous progress in both economic growth and food self sufficiency through productivity with government’s effort.
He made this statement at the Ministry’s Youyi Building Conference Room in Freetown. Dr. Sam Sesay disclosed that this year alone the Ministry of Agriculture through strategic plans has gained support from the EU, World Bank, ADB and other partners to have made the ministry accumulate the sum of 165 Million United States Dollar to enhance productivity and economic growth.
He informed that the ministry is currently implementing the Small Holders Commercialization Project which is aimed at providing financial and material means for subsistence farmers to produce more than what they consume and supply the markets, saying the project would promote rural farmers and hence reduce poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The project will create market facilities, mechanized services and add value to farmers’ produce, he said.
The Minister disclosed that through the project they have identified six commodities, including rice, cassava, fishery, no forest products and livestock to achieve the food security goal in Sierra Leone by promoting their production and giving them value chain.
“Government is working tremendously to support the private sector and other agricultural organizations in various communities in the country with machinery, seedlings, fertilizers and many other farming implements to boost farming activities and reduce excessive labour,” he noted.
He ended by disclosing that at least 150 Agricultural Business Centres (ABCs) have been created countrywide to encourage farmers to have quick access to the market, and to protect and preserve their wares.
“This recent effort by government has made it possible to reduce the importation of rice into the country this year,” he said, adding that more private companies are currently working in rural communities to boost agriculture and create employment facilities for youths. He once more commended our donor partners for supporting agriculture.