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SYMBOLIC HANDING OVER OF THE 13th PHASE CHINA AID AGRICULTURAL INPUT TO THE OGOO FARM COMMUNITY

The Ogoo Farm Community Farmers Association has received a consignment of part of the 13th phase of the China-aid Agricultural inputs to Sierra Leone. Presenting the farm inputs which included seed rice, maize and fertilizer, the Chinese Economic and Commercial Councilor Zhang Xueqian, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, stated that this kind gesture is based on the bilaterally long relation that is existing between Sierra Leone and the people Republic of China since 1970. He describe Sierra Leone as a potential to achieve food self-sufficiency based on the rich agricultural resources, large proportion of arable land and suitable climate it possesses. Mr. Xueqian added that the China Agricultural Aid is in line with the New Direction Government’s agenda of making Agriculture the engine for Socio-Economic growth and development. He explained that during this project phase, china will provide 6 tons of hybrid maize seeds, 13 tons of hybrid rice seeds and 170 tons of fertilizers to support about 4000 Sierra Leonean farmers, adding that they have already provided technical training to machine operators, conducted soil and metrological studies and will provide 6900 tons of rice as food for work, out of which 1000 tons has already been handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Receiving the inputs on behalf of the Ogoo Farm Community Farmers Association, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Hon. Sam king Braima said that farmers in the Ogoo farm community has the potential to make a lot of money from their Agricultural product due to the fact that they are very close to Freetown which is the biggest market in the country and hence should take farming as a potential for wealth creation. Mr. Braima entreated the farmers to ensure they plant every seed they receive as Hybrid seeds he noted, are chemically treated to increase their yielding capacity, and thus farmers should not eat them. While, appreciating the Chinese delegation on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone for the kind gesture, the Agriculture Minister encouraged the Chinese technical team to create a platform of technology and knowledge sharing with experts in his Ministry so as to enhance sustainability in technology transfer and adoption. Speaking on behalf of the beneficiary farmers, the Secretary General of the Ogoo Farm Farmers Association, Mariama Mansaray - Keita express thanks and appreciation to the Chinese delegation for such a laudable support and pleaded to senior MAF officials to appeal to authorities concern to help protect their Agricultural lands as land encroachment is the biggest challenge confronting Urban and Peri - Urban agriculture. The program was climaxed by a symbolic signing and handing over ceremony by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and the Chinese Councilor for Economic and Commerce followed by the handing of the inputs the farmers through the Western Area District Agricultural Officer, Mrs. Jane Fei Kabba – Sei Sillah Reported by the: Agricultural Information and Communications Unit (AICU) Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)

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WESTERN AREA FARMERS ASSOCIATION – SIERRA LEONE (WAFA – SL) CONCLUDES A FOUR DAY FIELD DAY AND EXHIBITION

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in collaboration with the Western Area Farmers Association Sierra Leone (WAFA-SL) has successfully concluded a four days farmer field day and exhibition at Newton, in the Western Area Rural District. Giving an overview of the occasion, the District Agricultural Officer, Western Area, Mrs. Jane Fae Kabba-Sei Sillah described the event which started on Thursday 14th March and ended on Sunday 17th March 2019, as a moment to bring solidarity and team spirit among farmers in both Western Area Rural and Urban and to send a signal to authorities that intensive farming is in progress in the District. The four day ceremony included a farmer’s parade from Newton Mini Stadium to the Newton Agricultural Station, an Islamic thanksgiving service at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Mosque, Newton, a field day and exhibition and Christian thanksgiving Service at the Faith Healing Church, Newton. Delivering the keynote address during the exhibition day, the Chief Agricultural Officer, in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr. Amara Idara Sheriff who deputized his Minister, commended the Western Area Farmers Association for their team work and cooperation with the MAF Western Area District Staff in promoting increase agricultural production and productivity in the District. Mr. Sheriff reminded the farmers that increasing agriculture is the second priority of the New Direction Agenda of Government as it is paramount for the socio – economic growth of the country. It is against this background that the MAF has developed a National Agricultural Transformation Plan in which production of cereals, improvement of Livestock, vegetable and tree crops production and biodiversity conservation has been identified as the key domestic area to actualize agricultural transformation, he maintained. The Chief Agricultural Officer entreated the farmers to embrace agriculture as a business, so as to help Government reduce the over three hundred million ($300,000,000) dollars used annually to import food items of which rice importation alone accounts for two hundred million ($200,000,000) dollars. Government he added is working assiduously to address the challenges of input supply, access to loan and farmer training, among others. In his contribution earlier, the Chairperson of the Agricultural Committee in the Western Area Rural District Council, Mr. Abdul Karim Kargbo noted that the event was very historical as it is the first ever organized in the western area. He however expressed the concern of the District Council over the scarcity of suitable land for agriculture pointing out the heavy encroachment taking place for housing particularly on wetlands. Mr. Kargbo implored the authorities concern particularly the Ministry of Lands to help protect and recover farm lands especially wet lands and Inland Valley Swamps (IVS). Similar sentiments were expressed by the Member of Parliament Constituency 106, Hon. Mohamed Chernoh Kabia, representatives of the Freetown City Council, Non – Governmental Organizations, and the National Federation of Farmers of sierra Leone. Reported by the: Agricultural Information and Communications Unit (AICU) Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)

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MEDIA, SCADeP PARTNERSHIP FORGED TO PROMOTE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY

Over fifty media houses drawn from various regions of Sierra Leone have on Monday 15th May been orientated on the Small Holder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project (SCADeP) at the Hill Valley hotel in Freetown. The orientation workshop was initiated to give a thorough understanding of the media on the Project Development Objectives and components of the project, its funding schemes to farmers, opportunities available for smallholder farmers in the country and the role the media can play in objectively and accurately reporting on the project in its five years course of operation. Formerly welcoming media practitioners, project coordinator of SCADeP Mr. Sorie Sulaiman Sesay underscored his strong support to creating fruitful partnership that fosters economic growth through agriculture and the SCADeP project. He said SCADeP has a strong collaborative approach with state and non state actors towards meeting its project development objectives thus supporting the idea of bringing together the media from all over the country to discuss what SCADeP is about, how it intends to undertake its programs and how the media can factor in the process for an accountable and transparent implementation.

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