The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has on Friday 30th October 2020 engaged key agricultural private sector players on the need to popularize MAF policy shifts and to obtain their feedback in efforts to strategically plot the roadmap for effective policy design and implementation of these policy shifts. The engagement was held at the Golden Tulip Auditorium, Aberdeen Freetown.
Giving a keynote address on the Ministry’s policy shifts, the Acting Minister of Agriculture and Forestry- Abubakarr Karim maintained the robust effort of the government of Sierra Leone through MAF in revamping the agricultural sector. He particularly applauded the unshaking patronage shown so far by the Private Sector in changing the trajectory of the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone. He furthered that the need to popularize the Ministry’s policy shifts is very timely as the country’s agricultural sector has over the years been deprived of the attention it needs largely due to lack of access to finance, inadequate equipment for mechanised farming, lesser-private sector involvement, improper infrastructure among other challenges which have enormously contributed to crippling the country’s agricultural sector. He strongly acknowledged the importance of agriculture as he affirmed that over 90% of the Sierra Leonean population get their living from Agriculture. And that also, the sector constitutes 57% of the country’s total GDP. He concluded on His Excellency the president Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio’s pledge made during the State Opening of Parliament to rebrand the narrative of the country’s agricultural sector through a presidential-led initiative which has already facilitated the procurement of 250 tractors, and is about to secure a $50 Million funding from the Bank of Sierra Leone to popularize key policy shifts on: input delivery, mechanization and agricultural investment. He therefore called on all private sector investors to help in the implantation of these policy shifts.
Contributing on the Ministry’s Policy Shifts, the Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) – Sahr Jusu and the deputy Bank Governor at the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) – Dr. Ibrahim Lahai Stevens registered the government’s unflinching commitment through the MOF and BSL in supporting the agricultural sector. The Financial Secretary furthered on the note that; through these policy shifts MOF will work in concert with both the Bank of Sierra Leone and the World Bank to roll out quick action financial mechanisms that will benefit the agricultural sector in terms of providing lower interest loans to farmers, E-vouchers systems and farm service centres, etc.
The engagement was climaxed by some key private sector players who reaffirmed their dedication to help the Ministry’s effort in implementing these policy shifts. But they however called on the government to put the interest of the people above all else in the rolling out of these policy shifts.
Agricultural Information and Communications Unit
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry