By Jariatu Bangura
In a bid to accomplish the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ in the agricultural sector, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has concluded a three-day training workshop for thirty-six rural women farmers in food preparation, utilisation and preservation in Kakua Chiefdom, Bo District.
The training was held at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food security in Bo City.
The beneficiaries were selected from among women’s farming groups in Kailahun, Kenema, Tonkolili, Pujehun, Bombali, Koinadugu and Bo district respectively. The aim of the training was to capacitate women in the preparation, preservation and utilisation of different types of food, including cassava, soya beans, sweet potato and cereal foods.
Addressing participants at the ceremony, deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security ll, Madam Marie Jalloh, appealed to them to take the training seriously as they would be in a position to process different food items using different methods of cooking.
She added that women account for 60% of the agricultural population and yet are not given the required attention.
She revealed that plans were underway to form a Women Agricultural Forum which will advocate for women farmers across the country.
Earlier in her statement, the Head of Women in Agriculture and Nutrition Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Food Security, Mrs. Victoria V. Lebbie, said the training was intended for farmers to add more value to their products and make more money.
In her presentation on the processing and preservation of food items, Nutrition Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mrs. Mariama Bah, said the training was important and timely as it seeks to improve both nutritional status of the people and the earning power of farmers. She added that legumes, such as soya bean and others, apart from their nutritional value, are also medicinal for the treatment of breast cancer in women. She called on the trainees to take advantage of the workshop by transferring the knowledge to other farmers in their different regions.
Focal Person, Food and Nutrition Security in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, who is also deputy Director of Planning, Evaluation, Monitoring and Statistics Division in the Ministry, Mr. Mohamed Ajuba Sheriff, said food and nutrition is not only the concern to the Ministry, but the nation as a whole.
He added that his Ministry has done well in the area of food production but that utilisation and value addition still remain a problem, and that they were making frantic efforts to address it.
He disclosed that his Ministry was in the process of establishing a strategic grain reserve to take care of increase in the price of rice as well as other food items.