March 9, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has opined that Sierra Leone was seriously lagging behind in agricultural productivity in the African continent.
During a visit to the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) over the weekend, Prof. Monty Jones described productivity as very important because it shows progress made in increasing growth.
He called on staff of SLARI to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and attain food self-sufficiency, adding, “When you conduct a research you should not just look at production but rather go into the value chain. Your research will only create impact when it reaches the field,” the minister said.
He urged that the predicament facing the sector should stop without further delay, adding that farmers must be assisted to get to agriculture commercialisation to enable them contribute immensely in making the country become self-sufficient.
The minister’s visit to the SLARI office at Njala University was welcomed by management and staff, who presented their challenges, including underfunding to conduct research, poor water and electricity supply, poor staff capacity, and low salary scale.
SLARI’s Director, Dr. Joseph Kargbo, said the institute was vying to become a centre of excellence, which is why they intend to open more centres. “We want to attract funding for major projects. We need more Lab Technicians for more effective and efficient work,” he said.
SLARI was established in 2007 by an Act of Parliament as the sole government agricultural research and agricultural technology generating body, for the benefit of the farming, fishing and forestry sectors in Sierra Leone.
With the vision of increasing food security and wealth by contributing to sustainable agricultural growth and effective agricultural research system, SLARI’s mission is to support agricultural growth through increased productivity and promotion of innovative technology and the empowerment of stakeholders.