– eFarm –
Fresh from our farm
Organic goods 50% off
eFarm Deal of the day
Why choose our healthy Products?
Features of eFarm
In a bid to transform the Agricultural Sector in Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has embarked on strategic policy shifts aimed at increasing land under cultivation and boosting yields. These interventions/initiatives are focused on setting the enabling environment that promotes private sector investment in Agriculture, reduce inefficiencies in service delivery and protect smallholder farmers involved in agriculture……………………
About twelve months ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) embarked on a journey to transform the agriculture sector in line with H.E President Bio’s vision for a sector that attracts private commercial investment, is driven by innovation and mechanisation, creates jobs and sustainably feeds the people of Sierra Leone.
This past week, my team and I took two giant steps towards implementing this vision. First, On Thursday March 11th, 2021, MAF partnered with the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) to launch a hundred billion Leones (USD 10 million) Agriculture Credit Facility (ACF) to finance private sector participation in the sector. This facility will be accessed through commercial banks by agribusinesses to import or produce agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertiliser, and pesticides. As an incentive to the private sector, we negotiated an interest as low as 5%, compared to the going market rate in the mid-twenty percent. As a further guarantee to avoid crowding out the private sector, MAF will no longer directly procure and distribute agricultural inputs to farmers in the country. Instead, MAF will directly support registered vulnerable farmers through a smart subsidy program, which will be rolled out via an e-wallet system that farmers can redeem for inputs from agro-dealers across the country. In collaboration with the (Ministry of Finance, MAF will establish a Clearing House (an escrow account) worth sixty billion Leones (USD 6 million) to cash out e-wallet. This means stepping away from years of a government-led procurement process rife with inefficiency and corruption for the Ministry. The smart subsidy will attract private investors in the sector and lead to big wins for our farmers, who will benefit from cheaper, quality, and timely inputs. This approach also helps the government to reduce costs and opportunism in input delivery in the country.
Another equally exciting achievement for my team and I this week, was signing contracts with fourteen private operators to lease and manage fourteen Machine Rings across the country. This signing ceremony marked a new approach to promoting agriculture mechanisation. For the first time, the government makes 410 machines and implements worth Le 168 billion available to farmers through the private sector. Previous failed approaches relied heavily on government, farmer groups or private individuals that were not business-oriented. This new lease-to-own public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement is business-oriented, which is why each Ring operator will pay the government the full cost of the Ring by the end of the lease period. They are expected to build profitable businesses that will allow them to make annual payments to the government.
This mechanisation approach will rapidly put more lowland areas under rice cultivation and set us on a path to deliver on H.E President Bio’s Human Capital Development (HCD) target of 86% rice-self-sufficiency by the end of 2023. The Machine Ring concept also immediately creates jobs in the fourteen districts. We estimate creating about 820 jobs for machine operators, and additional hundreds linked to repairs and maintenance services. This will help reduce youth unemployment in rural areas. And perhaps most critically, this approach will be made sustainable by establishing an Agriculture Mechanisation Fund, resourced from machine operators’ annual payments. The private sector will access this Fund at a low-interest rate to replace machines and grow their fleet. The Fund will also be used to train and certify operators to support mechanisation growth in the country.
With the private sector leading in these critical areas, my job is made easier. I will be the fiercest advocate for our farmers, making sure quality service is delivered to them. For input provision, we have already placed the necessary policies and regulatory bodies to support this private sector shift, including The National Fertilizer Regulatory Agency Act 2018, The National Fertilizer Policy 2017, The Seed Policy 2017, and The Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency Act 2018. For the Machine Rings, MAF will set up a cross-MDA and community level monitoring teams and use fleet management technology to ensure the private sector keeps its promise. We will also maintain the responsibility to provide agriculture advisory to our farmers, relying on digital technology to reach as many farmers as possible while keeping costs down.
The progress made so far is an excellent example of effective collaboration at all levels in the sector, including MDA, donors, the private sector, NGOs, and civil society. My leadership team is also grateful to the hardworking civil servants at MAF who have committed themselves to make H.E President Bio’s goals a reality and to help our farmers. Without their effort, we will not succeed. This work has also been supported by a team of technical advisors, including Advisors from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), who has been working alongside Division Heads to get the policy shift’s technical pieces and delivery mechanisms right.
Let me be the first to say that these achievements, while significant, are only a component of what is needed to boost productivity in the sector. The sector still requires a lot more investments and many more bold and innovative programs. We will celebrate these successes today, but tomorrow we will roll our sleeves to tackle the next challenge segment-by-segment of each priority crop and livestock value chain in the country. With a mandate and support from H.E President Bio, my Ministry will not rest until we put into place other interventions that will support a true transformation in the sector.
***The author, Dr. Abubakarr Karim is the Acting Minister of Agriclture and Forestry (MAF)
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) through the Information Communication Technology Unit (ICT) has on Thursday 28th January 2021 shared data set inventories with the Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC) and various other MDAs on the advancements made so far in promoting equal and equitable access to information and data through ICT. This engagement was held at the Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen, Freetown.
While briefing the audience on the breakthroughs achieved thus far in creating an efficient and reliable web system that support speedy access to information and data, the contemporary enlightened and tech-savvy ICT Manager at MAF – Mr. Abubakarr Tamu expressed heartfelt welcome to all distinguished guests who participated in this momentous engagement. Mr. Tamu continued on the note that information is power and the right to know should be afforded to everyone through modern interactive ICT systems to promote good governance, accountability and transparency.
In addition to showcasing his Ministry’s ICT advancements to support the right to access information and data through a modern ICT system that has gained recognition from other MDAs, Mr. Tamu was very delighted to demonstrate to the audience that MAF has got a real-time website that captures all latest activities of the Ministry and the activities and scope of work of all MAF divisions and projects apart from providing up-to-date Market Data, Forestry Data, Project Monitoring Data, Farmers Data among various other relevant MAF data, adding that all of these data are readily available for public consumption and access through Ministry’s website that supports a 24/7 direct chat. He added that a modern website of this nature speaks volume about the Ministry’s commitment to support RAIC efforts to promote equal and equitable access to information and data for national development. He therefore recommended for a National Digital Agricultural Strategy, MAF GPS, while also calling on RAIC to collaborate with other MDAs to develop a national data architectural backbone.
Similar presentations were also done by Environment, Basic Education, Gender and Children Affairs and Health Ministries.
Giving a keynote address on this engagement, Acting Agriculture and Forestry Minister – Dr. Abubakarr Karim called on all other MDAs to see the need to promote equal access to information. Dr. Karim was particularly pleased about his ministry’s ICT advancements made so far in supporting RAIC call to promote equal and equitable access to information and data through real time ICT web systems. He therefore assured the gathering that his Ministry under the leadership of Mr. Tamu will continue to do more to promote speedy and reliable access to information and data through ICT.
The Right to Access Information Commission was established in 2010 by the Government of Sierra Leone to promote access to information and data while promoting accountability, good governance, and transparency.
Published by :
Agricultural Information and Communications Unit (AICU)
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)
For more Information call: +232 76 497412 / +232 78 409735
– Only –
– Only –
Fruit & Veg Boxes
Pre - order
Three top cuts of amazing organic meat that changes weekly. The perfect pal to your weekly veg box, and you save a bob by getting meat this marvellous way. We guarantee this will have 3 days, including delivery day, before its expiry date. Remember this can also be frozen
Follow @efarm on Instagram