The Minister was joined by the Chairman for the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Aaron Koroma, Hon Sahr Tengbeh and Hon Lahai Marah, together with Hon Arthur Harvey Chairman of Sierra Leone Roads Authority and some professionals from the Ministry.
The purpose of the visit was to provide professional advice on the type of crops that should be cultivated.
Professor Monty Jones advised that the Deputy Minister starts with cashew tree crop, which his Ministry is willing to support. The Minister said the land befits banana and plantain cultivation with a good irrigation system on the river end. Other top officials, he said must emulate such a brighter example, because, as he puts it, ‘food security is a must in Sierra Leone’. “Sierra Leoneans must do some form of agriculture in whatever area they find themselves,” says the Minister.
The Minister and team also visited a 300acre farm owned by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at Yeali Sanda Village. The visiting team was received by Abdul K. Mansaray who said %20 of the farm was destroyed by fire last year. He lauded the Agriculture Ministry for the support. The farm contains cashew crops mainly from Bangul, potato, cassava, groundnut and tobacco.
Mr. Mansaray said the farm is feeding lots of households in surrounding villages. “My only concern is post-harvest processing and marketing of cashew,” he said. The Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Monty Jones assured that very soon investors will be in the country to purchase the product on a large-scale.
Also, the Minister visited a 125acres farm owned and managed by the Ernest Bai Koroma Agriculture Development Association at Gboran, Makarie Gbantie Chiefdom, Bombali District. This farmer Based Organization has a membership of 1,415 farmers. The organization has cultivated rice, cassava, maize, okra, garden eggs, groundnut etc. The organization also has 15acres farm at Makai Village and another 15acres at Mafonike Village.
The Minister commended the organization for doing a very good job. He advised that they work in line with the Presidential Priorities on Agriculture. He promised to provide the required support to boost their production so as to enable them contribute to flooding the market with local produce.
The Minister and team made their final stop at Sanda Tandaren Chiefdom where they were welcomed by the Paramount Chief, the Member of Parliament Honorable Sulaiman Sesay, Section Chiefs, Farmers and other Stakeholders. The farmers took the team to their rice fields to show their commitment in agriculture.