GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE IMPROVING LIVES OF FARMERS THROUGH THE SMALL HOLDER COMMERCIALIZATION PROJECT
By KABS KANU
The Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma is making farming a lucrative enterprise and is improving the lives of farmers through the Small holder Commercialization Project, according to COCORIOKO reporters in the provinces.
The project is being sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security ( MAFF) , the British international aid organization known as DFID and the World Bank. They recently launched in Freetown the Smallholder Commercialization and Agribusiness Development project known as SCADeP.
SCADeP is a five- year development program that has been designed to promote agricultural productivity through improved access to markets and finance.
The program is targeting increased production of rice, cocoa, palm oil and poultry.
President Ernest Bai Koroma has often emphasized that with good planning and the necessary political and moral will, Sierra Leone can be self- sufficient in food production, given our fertile soil and appreciable weather. His government therefore made it one more centerpiece of Sierra Leone’ s national development crusade to boost farming through the Smallholder Commercialization Project.
Koroma gave meaning to his determination to provide food security in Sierra Leone by appointing an astute and celebrated innovator in agriculture, Professor Monty Jones, who emphasized that ” The SCADeP project will create jobs for our workforce across the agriculture supply chain, and increase agricultural production and productivity of targeted crops and livestock. This is in line with the Presidential Recovery Priorities and contributing to the GDP. ”
Though his term of office expires next year, President Ernest Koroma is laying a solid foundation for an agricultural revolution in Sierra Leone.
Farming activities have improved in Sierra Leone and with good highways and feeder roads through the government’s infrastructural development projects, farmers are now able to transport their produce and access markets.
However, our reporters learnt that Sierra Leoneans are complaining that for the SCADeP project to be fully successful to the ultimate benefit of the people, the government must start doing something drastic to stop the smuggling of our food products to neighbouring countries. This is a major setback to the attainment of food sufficiency in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leoneans are suggesting strict control of cross-border smuggling by tightening security at the Jendema and the Gbalamuya border posts.