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.