This was revealed by MAFFS Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abubakar Daramy. He made the revelation over AYV (Africa Young Voices) television on Wednesday 6th September, 2017.
ACCORDING to Mr. Daramy, this is the first experimental pilot phase which would soon be expanded to other parts of the country that have similar climatic conditions favorable for the cultivation of Irish Potatoes. He added that before now, it had been the notion and belief that due to the exceptional climate conditions needed to cultivate Irish Potatoes in the West Africa sub-region but more particularly in Sierra Leone. He mentioned that the successful pilot phase of cultivation of Irish Potatoes in Sierra Leone is as a result of the extensive experience in agricultural research and professionalism of the Minister, Professor Patrick Monty Jones; whom he said, spared no effort in the supervision of extensive experiments which culminated in the first-ever cultivation of Irish Potatoes in Sierra Leone.
Daramy went on to state that the mission of the MAFFS under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Patrick Monty Jones, is to ensure that Sierra Leone shifts from importation of foodstuffs which can be grown inside the country and possibly export any surplus to other countries in the sub-region. He maintained that as far as the MAFFS Minister, Prof. Monty Jones is concerned, Sierra Leone has enormous potential to feed itself because the country has arable land which if properly used and managed would deliver the required result.
This recent discovery made by the MAFFS that Irish Potatoes can be grown in Sierra Leone comes years after similar successful pilot projects in the cultivation of cashew nuts and sorghum which is used by the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited in the production of beverages including Star Beer, Guinness Stout, etc. It is worth mentioning the fact that sorghum is now in very high demand and as a consequence, many farmers across the country are encouraged to engage in its cultivation as it is a highly economic which has made growers less dependent and more independent and has changed their lifestyles for the better.
A number of farmers that were involved in the pilot phase of cultivating Irish Potatoes said they are positive that with the necessary support from the relevant sections, the next cultivation of this crop would be huge, adding that they are encouraging the MAFFS to take this project to other parts of the country for maximum impact and result.