The Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) have kick-started the implementation of the Youth In Agriculture Project-Chiefdom Youth Farm Experimentation Program in Port Loko district, Northern Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the project, the Field Manager, Youth In Agriculture Project Hawanatu Kabu said the project seeks to actualize H. E. President Julius Maada Bio’s vision to ensure food availability and efficiency in the country through active youth involvement in agriculture. Madam Kabu, therefore, implored the youths to take the Chiefdom Youth Farm Experimentation serious.
Giving his keynote address, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Mohamed Orman Bangura set off by highlighting the dislikes and likes of H. E. President Julius Maada Bio.
The minister noted that President Bio despises mediocrity over competence “(Bra u bobor dae oooh), Corruption, tribalism etc, asserting that the choices of President Julius Maada Bio include hard work, patriotism, nationalism, selflessness and the spirit of One Country, One People.
Minister Bangura urged young people to believe in hard work to create a positive legacy; “people would someday ask you, “Kompoyor yea” a Temne expression meaning “what have you done.”
The Hon. Minister also shed light on the government’s willingness to empower young people through various youth-led programmes including Youth in Farming, Youth in Fisheries, the National Youth Service, Youth in Car Wash among many others.
Minister Orman wasted no words when addressing the zealous youth population as he said, “This project is for those youth who are interested in Agriculture, If you don’t want to do farming, wait for other youth programmes that have to do with what you are interested in.”
The project, according to the minister targets fifty youth per Chiefdom and over Ten Thousand youth across the country. He then called on the youth of Port-Loko District to cultivate 1,300 acres of land for rice farming.
Speaking on behalf of the Chiefs, PC Foday Santigie Kanu thanked the Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Mohamed Orman Bangura for undertaking such a laudable venture. Chief Kanu promised to work with youths to ensure they take ownership of the Project. P. C. Foday Kanu pledged on behalf of the chiefs to provide the needed land to youth, saying “youth are the bedrock of the country’s development and so, we must be in place to support them in any way necessary”.
The Chiefdom Youth Council Chairman, Tejan Ayoub Joaque highlighted several challenges impeding their efforts as young people in their chiefdoms.
Among the challenges he highlighted include, Councillors prioritising Political Party Youths over Chiefdom Youth Councils, Paramount Chiefs not meeting with Youth Councils to discuss the development of their Chiefdoms, the lack of mobility to monitor activities/projects implemented within their Chiefdoms and a host of other issues.
Tejan Ayoub Joaque however, assured the gathering of their commitment and readiness to fully implement youth Projects within their chiefdoms.
Foday Wangay, District Council Youth Chairman registered his heartfelt appreciation to the Youth Minister for his commitment to youth empowerment.
He re-echoed the Chiefdom Youth Chairman’s appeal for mobility and pleaded with all youth groups in the District to work together and in unity for their betterment and national development.