Agriculture & Development in Sierra Leone 

Agriculture is arguably the largest economic sector in the country as nearly two- thirds of the population depend on it for livelihood and sustenance and it is a factor for almost hall of the country’s Gross Domestic Product ( GDP.

Economic growth and poverty reduction in Sierra Leone will be sustained if the agricultural sector is development-oriented with requisite tangibles in the lives of the people. Despite well designed agricultural programmes by successive governments of the Republic of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) Sierra Leone is still crippled with poverty, agricultural standards and development realities. No crystal cut showcasing of a significant impact of interventions in the country’s agricultural sector in a bid to foster national development.

Sierra Leone as a second Republic since 1996, lip service, cosmetic development and fire brigade development have been the projections for agriculture and development to equate international benchmarks.

In the 2002 general elections, his second leg in governance, Sierra Leone President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (late) under the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) promised that by 2007 no Sierra Leonean would go to bed hungry with his Food Sufficiency Drive, but that was unachievable – instead, the cost of living was getting higher.

In the 2012 general elections, his second state mandate Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma( former ) under the All People’s Congress (APC)also promised food sufficiency with the Agenda for Prosperity, but still unachievable – instead citizens are still suffering from hunger and poverty.

In 2018 general elections, his first term of governance, President Brigadier Retired Julius Maada Bio, also promised food sufficiency with the New Direction Agenda, still citizens are skeptical about its achievement.

Ernest Bai Koroma administration attempted to transform peasant farming into commercial farming by introducing the Smallholder Commercialisation Programme, but much positive impact recorded by this beleaguered nation. Peasant or subsistent farming is still in existence on a large scale.

According to the content of the country’s Smallholder Commercialisation and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) is a five years project that seeks to promote agricultural productivity through improved access to markets, improved access to finance as welcome as the development of inclusive smallholder farmer agribusiness linkages in the targeted project areas of Sierra Leone to reduce extreme levels of poverty among the smallholder farmers and promote shared growth.

SCADeP, key values chains supported are rice, cocoa, palm oil and poultry. The projects will also fund and facilitate the rehabilitation of up to 500 kilometres of feeder roads in selected areas of the country with higher potentials in agricultural production, processing and marketing.

By the end of the project, it is expected that productivity on targeted commodities would have increased by 69 per cent for rice, 46 per cent for cocoa, 36 per cent for palm oil and 100 per cent for poultry.

Per cent increase in quantity and value of commodity sales from producer organisations would have increased by 10 per cent. And 50.000 smallholder farmers, of which 40 per cent will be women and youth are the expected direct beneficiaries.

Sierra Leone is spending million of billions of United States dollars in rice importation and other foodstuffs.

On Monday, May 15, 2017, I was among a galaxy of senior journalists in a day Media Orientation Workshop in Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown on the Smallholder Commercialisation and Agribusiness Development Project ( SCADeP) organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS).

In conclusion, there should be political goods will in collaboration with the private sector to properly improve the country’s agricultural sector for sustainable development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our thanks to the Sierra Leone Patriotic Vanguard for the above online news.

Akinwumi Adesina spearheads leading agricultural innovation and economic growth of Africa

President of the African Development Bank – Akinwumi Adesina, is committed to the eradication of poverty, through agricultural innovation and promoting good governance, working in helping to develop Africa’s economy.

As an agricultural economist, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has been a leader in agricultural innovation for over 30 years. He has contributed greatly to food security in Africa, aimed at improving the lives of millions currently living in poverty, throughout the African continent.

The Sunhak Committee acknowledges Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s achievements in promoting good governance in Africa, boosting Africa’s capacity to feed itself and transform its economies to generate wealth for millions of rural and poor African farmers.

At the Cape Town International Convention Center, the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee announced that the 2019 Laureates for the Sunhak Peace Prize would be Waris Dirie, 53-year-old world-class supermodel and anti-FGM activist, and Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, the 58-year-old president of the African Development Bank Group.

Dr Akinwumi Adesina pioneered major transformations in the agricultural field, including expanding rice production by introducing high yielding technologies, designing and implementing policies to support farmers’ access to technologies at scale, increasing the availability of credit for millions of smallholder farmers, attracting private investments for the agricultural sector, rooting out the corrupt elements in the fertilizer industry, and assisting in the establishment of major agricultural policies for Africa’s green revolution.

The “Africa Fertilizer Summit,” which he organized in 2006, was one of the largest high-level meetings in Africa’s history that had a focus on solving Africa’s food issues.

During this Summit, Dr Adesina was instrumental in developing the “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution,” whereby the participants stated their commitment to the “eradication of hunger in Africa, by 2030.”

Dr Adesina worked with various banks and international NGOs to create an innovative financing system, providing loans to small farmers, providing a way for them to rise out of poverty.

This move leveraged $100 million in loans and provided opportunities for small farmers to increase their agricultural productivity and income.

Dr Akinwumi Adesina currently serves as the president of the African Development Bank Group which plays a central role in Africa’s development.

As an “economic commander” of Africa, he promotes the “High 5 Strategy” that include: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrializes Africa, integrates Africa and improves the quality of life for the people of Africa. As a result of his work, the lives of millions of people throughout Africa have been improved.

Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee, Dr Il Sik Hong, stated that “the Sunhak Peace Prize was established based upon the vision of “One Family Under God. The 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize gives special attention to peace and human development in Africa.”

Dr Hong added “for us to build an era of peace and coexistence in the 21st century, we want to encourage continuous development in Africa. Africa is a rising star and its growth will contribute to global progress and development throughout the 21st century.”

The Sunhak Peace Prize honours individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and the welfare of the future generations.

The Sunhak Peace Prize includes a cash prize of one million dollars. The 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony will take place in February 2019 in Seoul, Korea.

Our thanks to the Sierra Leone Telegraph for the above online news.

SLeCAD introduces SAKATA Seed Company to farmers

The Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD) has on Thursday, 28th June, hosted a meeting for SAKATA Seed Company and local farmers at Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.

The meeting was geared towards introducing SAKATA Seed and Input Company to farmers in the country with a view to building a state-of-the-art industry in Sierra Leone capable of producing and supplying quality seeds and input technologies to smallholder farmers and large scale agro-industries along the agricultural value chains that will ensure jobs and wealth creation goals, improve food security for all Sierra Leoneans.

Speaking during the meeting, Executive Secretary of SLeCAD, Ahmed Nano, expressed thanks to the company for partnering with the chamber through a private dealer.

He said the chamber has been longing for a vibrant seed sector in the country and that farmers who had wanted to go into agro industrialisation could now have access to quality seeds from a recognised firm.

“What is killing our farmers and making them poor is because the seed sector or input they are using is either used or out used,” Nanoha said, adding that with the coming of the global seedling company, the problems of farmers will be a thing of the past.

The Executive Secretary expressed optimism that under the leadership of the New Direction, agriculture will grow in the country and expressed hope that SAKATA would help the country’s farmers develop with a bumper harvest.

He assured the company of the chamber’s support at all times and encouraged farmers to work with them.

Vincent Celada, from Sakata Vegetables Europe, said the company has been in existence since 1913 and has become a global brand in vegetable seed and input in the world.

He said that seeds Sakata will be providing for Sierra Leone include cabbage, carrot, cucumber, melon, okra, onion, pepper, squash, tomato, and watermelon, adding that the company has good seeds that can thrive well in the country.

He continued that they will work with farmers through their local contact and the Agribusiness Chamber to supply seeds and input to farmers, adding that they will be providing training for them.

Focal person for Sakata in Sierra Leone, Chernoh Musa Kabia, said the company is the third-largest seed company in the world and has been in the business of seedlings for over one hundred years.

He said that as a farmer who is aware of the challenges farmers face in the country, he worked hard to bring the seedling company to partner with the Agribusiness Chamber.

Kabia said Sakata Company has been doing very well in neighbouring countries like Senegal, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, amongst other countries.

“For a farmer to be successful in farming, he or she should have the right input. That’s why I tried all out to bring them to help my colleague farmers,” he said.

The Sakata focal person further said the price of Sakata seeds will be minimal and that the company will provide technical support to farmers on how to use the seedlings for a better harvest.

Our thanks to the Sierra Leone Concord Times for the above online news.