BRAC in partnership with PICEP Sierra Leone; through the “Sustainable Livestock Development Model for Improved Food Security Project” officially launched the livestock (Goat) de-worming campaign in Konabu community, Nongowa chiefdom, Kenema District on 14th June, 2019.

The event attracted relevant stakeholders from the Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security (District Agriculture officer - Kenema; the district Livestock officers - Kenema, Bo & Moyamba, the District Extension officer - Kenema District), the Paramount Chief - Nongowa Chiefdom, District Council Chairman - Kenema District, Community Animal Health workers (CAHW) and various livestock-rearer  groups within Nongowa chiefdom.

The aim of the event is to further promote the significance and ultimate benefit of the initiative; consequently, enhancing absolute support and ownership. The ceremony was a platform for the beneficiaries and stakeholders to share experiences, learnings, suggestions and/or recommendations to further ensure effective and efficient implementation of the campaign. Taking into consideration the ultimate impact of the (de-worming) approach being one of the best methods to ensure profitable livestock production, efficient feed utilization and weight gain.

In his keynote address, the Deputy District Agriculture officer, Mr. Edward Musa, lauded BRAC Sierra Leone & PICEP for their relentless efforts in supporting vulnerable livestock farmers and the country’s agricultural sector, specifically in sustainable livestock development.  

The Regional Coordinator, BRAC–SL Food Security and Livelihood program, Mr. Mohammad Masudur Rahman Akand gave an insight on BRAC’s development initiatives and the project’s evolution; he implored the stakeholders and beneficiaries to take ownership of the project to further ensure sustainability and efficiency.

The event was climaxed with a practical demonstration of the de-worming exercise by senior representatives from MAFS-Livestock unit in Bo, Kenema and Moyamba district. FrontPage20062019.

 

Deputy Minister Agriculture and Forestry Sam King  Brima

 The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sam King Brima has emphasized that the country needs to provide more quality coffee and cocoa beans if famers are to meet international standard and compete with the international markets.

 He made this comment during the national validation of the draft coffee and cocoa polices at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) conference hall in Freetown on Friday 31, May 2019.

 The deputy Minister said coffee and cocoa production was a pride of the nation’s, adding that Sierra Leone is not among countries known for good coffee and cocoa beans production.

 He said the ultimate aims of these policies are focusing on two priorities that of quality and trade, adding that such measures would improve the foreign exchange in the country.

 The deputy minister said both polices would guide farmers in producing quality coffee and cocoa beans, noting that quality comes with a combination of factors dealing with research and farmers education.

 He said the MAF will understudy from Ghana and Ivory Coast for the final inputs to the finalization of the document which is expected to be completed by June this year.

Imperest Administratorfor Boosting Agriculture and Food Security (BAFS), Jemillatu Stober said the BAFS project has three main objectives institutional capacity building, formulation of food security strategies and sector policies.

 She said different factor affects these sectors value added chain in the country, citing that over 50 percent of the country’s coffeeand cocoa trees are aged and needed extensive rehabilitation.

 Madam Stober said pests and diseases are one of the major challenges for low yield of coffee and cocoa production, adding that cocoa and coffee production specifically target the export market if properly manage could be an important source of income for rural farmers.

 She said in 2017 the project hired consultants to undertake a feasibility studies on the preliminary value of these cash crops and realized that the sector was not structured despite its huge potential to improve the country Gross Domestic Product.

 Madam Stober said the formulation of these documents would help the sector greatly to achieve its goals.

 In presenting the draft coffee policy Daniel Sarmu, said the history of coffee can be tracedback to the colonial era, adding that in Sierra Leone coffee began to gain prominence in the late 1970s.

 He said majority of coffee producers in the country are smallholder growers cultivatingsmall surfaces and facing challenges.

The coffee consultant reiterated that productivity was extremely low in 2017 and it had been estimated at 375 kg per hectare, citing that in comparison, the global average is estimated at 950 kg per hectare in the sub- region.

He said the draft validation report states that the coffee sector is very weak and with no governance or administrative structures for farmers producing the product.

 Sarmu saidprice mechanism can be devised through the telephone network as well as the internet in the future.

“The overall vision of this policy is to develop a sustainable and competitive coffee sector in Sierra Leone by 2030’’ he said.FrontPage06062019.


The People’s Republic of China has established a relationship with Sierra Leone for more than 40 years. China is an important development partner with Sierra Leone especially in Agriculture and Fisheries sectors. China is ready to make more cooperation withSierra Leone in the particular areas of the fish harbor construction, fisheries surveys for fish stock assessment, aquaculture development etc.
When China embarked on long distance fishing, Sierra Leone was the first country the Chinese vessels were sent to and currently seventy-five (75%) of the industrialized vessels fishing in Sierra Leone come from China, which is currently 68 vessels and carrier. Thus

Minister warns cocoa farmers

By Ahmed Sahid  Nasralla (De Monk)

Resident Minister. East, Andrew Fatorma

Participants and high table guests during the closing ceremony

Sierra Leone Resident Minister East, Andrew Fatorma, has urged local cocoa farmers to put more efforts and employ best practices in growing better cocoa so that they would earn more money and bring about desired change in their lives as well as to their communities and the nation in general, or risk facing the wrath of God.

 

Speaking at the closing ceremony of a 21-day Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop for community facilitators on Cocoa Integrated Crop and Pest Management (ICPM), and Farmers Field Schools (FFS) under the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CoRIP) organised by Solidaridad West Africa at Hotel Albertson in Kenema Town on 29th March, 2019, the Resident Minister warned the participants to go back to their communities and put into effective practice what they have learnt or risk the wrath of God’s sledgehammer.

“You should remember that nobody forced you to come and participate in this training; you opted to be part of it. After people have taken time to groom you to ensure that you transform your lives and this country, you will then go back and sit in your communities and forget about everything. If you do so, God will use His sledgehammer on you,” swore the Resident minister.

He added: “You have gone through 21 days of quality training, and to host you from different locations in the country in Kenema has required a huge amount of money. They accommodated you, provided food for you, and got an international consultant to train you has cost a lot. The only way you can pay back is to put the knowledge and skills you have gained from this training into practical use so as for you to change the story of the cocoa industry and bring about the needed change in your lives, your families, your communities and the country at large.”

The Resident Minister said his presence at the ceremony was to emphasize the premium His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio puts on agriculture as the engine for socio-economic growth. ‘’In the past, Sierra Leone had agriculturists who graduated with first and second degrees and even doctorates, but we have not got an agriculturist in this country who is practicing agriculture. We want to change that narrative.”

He encouraged the participants to go back and serve as ambassadors of the new cocoa industry in their communities.

“We are beginning to curse people who take up responsibilities but fail to discharge such responsibilities effectively, and who turn round to blame government when things don’t go right. When you talk about government, it is not about the president alone, or his Cabinet; you in your small corners are also charged with the responsibility to transform your country, but when you fail in that duty, you don’t condemn yourself, but other people,” the Resident Minister said. He added that people often ask for help, and when such help are given to them, they have nothing to show in return for what they have done for this country.

The Resident Minister said if the country failed to produce better cocoa, nobody should blame the Ministry of Agriculture or government.

“You should not blame the ministers, but yourself because you have been trained to produce better cocoa, and we are now expecting you to deliver,” he challenged the participants.

He urged Solidaridad and its partners to effectively follow-up and monitor outcomes.

“What has been happening in this country is that sometimes they train people, and because there are no proper follow-ups or monitoring systems, such projects die out. Perhaps in due course, we’ll begin to even ask people to sit exams for the degrees they claim to have, so that after every five year, you will come and defend your credentials. That is what is happening in other countries,” he said.

A total of 102 participants took part in the training: 61 farmers selected by partners, 10 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) extension staffs, 20 Field Officers of partners and 11 National Youth service personnel.

The training programme involved cocoa agronomy, pest management, disease management, rehabilitation, how to set up FFS and other programs that will enable farmers grow sustainable cocoa.

According to the Consultant trainer, Sylvanus Agordorku, the farmers are expected to go to their communities to establish FFS in conjunction with their partners who they are working with. He further said that at these schools, they are supposed to train cocoa farmers in planting, replanting and diversification, as well as rehabilitation because the current programme is meant for rehabilitation and new planting in the cocoa farms. Eventually, the old plantations will be taken care of during the course of the FFS training.

Furthermore, Agordorku said the farmers are expected to plant food crops, as rainy season crops in the cocoa farms will be established so that they will have food security, food availability and food accessibility, and thereby help reduce hunger.

“The old practice where farmers go to the food banks to borrow will be minimized or eradicated entirely during the course of the programme,” noted Sylvanus.

In Sierra Leon,e the CoRIP project, which is funded by the Dutch Government, is implemented in three districts, namely Kenema, Kailahun and Kono- all in the Eastern region, where the land is fertile for cocoa farming. It seeks to support cocoa intensification and production improvements by facilitating improved farmers’ access to inputs and extension services and test and validate economically viable and operationally feasible service delivery models for production support services through the creation of Farmer Support Centers (FSCs).

As part of Solidaridad West Africa’s sustainability strategy, they work through local partners: F.T. Saad, Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company, Randlyn Holdings and Trading Organic-SL Ltd. To date, a total of 765,920 improved cocoa varieties have been nursed by partners through Solidaridad’s support across the three operational districts. These seedlings are expected to be distributed and planted by 27,500 smallholders’ cocoa farmers in the three districts. The 21- day training is part of Solidaridad’s efforts to ensure that these seedlings when distributed to farmers are maintained using Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).

“In due course, we expect the trainees to adopt the knowledge acquired in their farms, train other farmers (ToT) and demonstrate commitment to attend future trainings,” said John Maada Paul Sinah, Solidaridad’s Programme Manager for oil palm in Sierra Leone. “We will be conducting follow-up visits to all trainees and farms to verify whether the knowledge gained over these three weeks are reflected on the farmers and farms.”

Meanwhile, one of the participants, Ade Momoh, described the training as very timely and an eye-opener.

“All what I was doing before was actually following what I learnt from my parents who were also cocoa farmers. It has been very beneficial to me, but I was never exposed to new methods to improve on my cocoa farming business, as I was just using the old method I inherited from my father. Now I am happy to learn about new methods I need to apply in the field that will change  my cocoa production techniques for the better,” said the 44-year-old famer from Kailahun District, who claimed to have been a cocoa farmer since 2004.

He said he would return to his community full of new ideas and confidence, and will apply them in his cocoa farm.

Credit: Development and Economic Journalists Association-Sierra Leone (DEJA-SL).

 

 

A government delegation from Sierra Leone is now in Cambodia to explore partnership opportunities, particularly in the agriculture sector.
As expressed during a meeting on Monday between the Cambodian Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon and his Sierra Leone counterpart Joseph J. Ndanema, the Sub-Saharan African country is interested in importing Cambodian rice.

Mr. Ndanema said during the meeting that now is the right time for both nations to engage in comprehensive cooperation.
He praised the local agriculture sector for its swift development in recent years, and added that his country can learn from what Cambodia has achieved.

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