(Port-Loko – 22nd January 2021) As the drive towards sustainable rice production continues to be a priority under the new direction administration, the ever-industrious, relentless and goal-oriented Acting Agriculture Minister – Dr. Abubakarr Karim has on Friday, 22nd January 2021, welcomed a small group of experts from South Africa to conduct a 230,000 hectare aerial land mapping and surveying exercises in Rhombe, Torma Bum and Komrabai Mamela in urgent preparations to kick start the $54 Million United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Funded Rhombe Rice Project. This welcoming ceremony was held at the Lungi International Airport.
While assuring that this aerial mapping and surveying exercises will provide a very credible and reliable data for proper irrigation systems, the system operator of the Diamond DA42 AMPP land surveying and mapping helicopter, Riann Heydenrych assured that the data generated from this exercise will be handed over to the Agriculture Ministry within the next three weeks as requested, after it would have been processed in South Africa. And as such, these data will be utilised for not only the Rhombe Rice Project, but it will also be adequately harnessed for future other large scale agricultural projects in the Port Loko District.
Acting Agriculture Minister expressed utter delight and contentment over this very laudable and expensive land mapping and surveying exercises. He continued by professing that this aerial land mapping and surveying speaks volume of his government’s commitment towards changing the agricultural narrative in this country. He strongly reassured that more exercises of this nature will be conducted in the future. Adding that every data gathered from each mapping and surveying exercise will be a step in the right direction for proper planning and implementation of all agricultural projects in the country.
Also when asked about how this project will benefit the government and people of Sierra Leone, Dr. Karim guaranteed that this project just like several other rice value chain agricultural projects in the country, will serve to cut down the over 250 Million USD Government annually spend to import rice, apart from creating over 2000 jobs for not just the indigenes of Port-Loko but also for the entire citizenry of Sierra Leone.
The Rhombe Rice Project is a direct foreign investment initiative pioneered by His Excellency Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio through the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The project was initially launched by the vice president, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on the 14th December, 2020 at the Gbainti Walla and Lokomasama Chiefdoms, Port Loko District. Apart from providing over 20,000 metric tons of rice per harvest, the project will also focus on some other products like: onions, tomatoes and maize.
AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS UNIT (AICU)
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY (MAF)