Thursday February 2, 2006
The Republic f Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) spends a whooping Le930m (Nine hundred and thirty million leone) monthly to buy imported rice and other cooking condiments to feed its slightly over 10,000 troops country wide.
This figure has created some uneasiness among the rank and file of the army and even the civilian population who described the amount as “too colossal.”
“We are not against the government taking great care of the security forces especially the army, but it is completely nonsensical and waste of resources to keep spending such a huge amount of money on people who are strong and energetic enough to nt only feed themselves but even the nation,” remarked Abdul T. M’briwa,a Civil Society Activist .
He suggested that the government must encourage the army to embark seriously on agriculture by providing the necessary mechanical logistics and finance. “The army has thousands of acres of land at its disposal at Kontobi in the North and other areas in the country that are eagerly waiting to be cultivated. All the army need is the push from the government,” he stated.
Our investigations reveal that the present army has 23 (twenty three) officers who are degree holders in Agriculture and three of them holds Masters Degree in Agriculture.
“The army has the man-power and the technical know-how to engage in serving agriculture that can go a long way to make a reality the dream of President
Kabbah of food self-sufficiency by the 2007. it is far better to donate the tractors to the army than to politicians wo does nothing whosoever in terms of Agriculture,” our M’briwa explained.
However, in a telephone reaction, the Chief of Defense Staff, Brig. Gen. Sam Mboma assured that plans are on foot to reactivate the Agriculture sector of the army and went further to state that a comprehensive proposal from the army had been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and they are awaiting on the response of the Ministry.