The Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Prof. Patrick Monty Jones has continued his drive to support farmers around the Country. He was been accompanied by the Chairman Agriculture Committee in the House of Parliament Hon. Aaron Koroma of Const. 62, Hon. Sahr Tengbeh of Const. 003, former Hon. Arthur Harvey now Chairman of SLRA and a team from the Ministry of Agriculture to hand over a cheque of Le25, 000, 000(twenty five million Leones) to the Sierra Leone Women’s Farmers Forum (SLEWOFF) in Moyamba District and Le25,000,000 to Eyeina Heina Agricultural Business Center (ABC) in Sogbeni Chiefdom, Bonthe District. This is one of the best performing ABC’s in Bonthe District.
The Ministry however continues to demonstrate its commitment in helping farmer to not only attain double their yields, but to also help the country to increase production and productivity. Farmers are in need of 265, 000 fifty kilogram bags of fertilizers, which the Ministry has committed itself to provide. In as much as about 35, 000 bags have been supplied to farmers this year for the first application, the process of supplying the Ministry with 250, 000 bags of fertilizers is still not been concluded as reported.
The country is currently having a shortage of 15, 000 bags of fertilizer for the first application, which was provided in May this year. This was why the Ministry used its data base of previous suppliers of fertilizers to get three companies to supply 250, 000 bags for the second and third applications and for the next planting season. “Due to urgency, we decided not go for competitive bidding, we rather went through our data base to identify those that have been supplying good fertilizers to the country. We ask them to bid for the supply of 250,000 bags, 100, 000 to go used for this year second and third applications and 150, 000 bags for next year,” Ministry Officials say.
Report states that not less than five companies bided for each of the three types of fertilizers required, namely Nitrogen Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) 15:15:15, 20:20:20 and Urea.
They went through the normal bidding process that is spearheaded by a Procurement Committee. Three companies have been selected and are expected to sign a contract in the coming days. We took this shortcut as required by law because we want it now,” says the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Abu Bakarr Sidique Daramy. He said all this was done with the approval of the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA)
“Nobody from IFAD or World Bank has approached us to say we are wrong,” he said.