Women Farmer Based Organizations from the sixteen Agricultural Districts of Sierra Leone, has paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Minister II of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Theresa Teneh Dick to congratulate her for her Ministerial appointment and abreast her of their agricultural activities, success stories and challenges in the Sector.
Outlining their successes, Farmers explained that they contribute to about 70% of agricultural production, processing, value addition and marketing as well as rural job creation in the country.
The Women Farmers however lamented that they are challenged with the permanent acquisition of farmland, appropriate farm machinery and access to loan facilities among other things that will aid increased agricultural production and productivity in the country.
Discussing his Ministry’s National Agricultural Transformation Plan, the Chief Agricultural Officer, Mr Amara Idara Sheriff explained the Strategic Policy Shift which focuses on Private Sector Led Farm Mechanization through the establishment of Machine Rings and Farmer Service Centres, Agricultural Credit Facility to Private Sector Actors to import Seeds, Fertilizers and Agro Chemicals, an E – Voucher System to foster Efficiency , Transparency as well as Cost Reduction in Government Input Delivery and an E – Extension System to compliment the Extension Strategy to reach millions of farmers with information to help Decision Making, Boost Production and Income Generation. .
Welcoming and congratulating the women farmers for appreciating and bestowing confidence in her appointment as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Theresa Teneh Dick assured them of her unflinching determination to ensure that Women Farmers benefit from all farmer support services provided by her Ministry, the Agricultural Projects and donor partners.
Dr. Theresa Teneh Dick explained that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Retired Brigadier Dr. Julius Maada Bio appointed her as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry because of his confidence in the positive role women play in national development.
She entreated the Women Farmer Based Organizations to be focused and work in unison regardless of tribal, political and regional sentiments in order to benefit from the many available opportunities to transform the Agriculture Sector as the engine that propels national growth and development.
The Deputy Agriculture and Forestry Minister II, assured the Women Farmers that their challenges will be catalogued and discussed at management level with the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Abubakarr Karim, to proffer possible and lasting solutions.
The occasion was graced by the Offices of the Permanent Secretary, the Technical Advisory and Resource Mobilization Unit, the Agricultural Extension Services Division and the Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development Project and of the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone.