NOVEMBER 25, 2014
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, has toured vast expanse of old and new oil palm plantations of the Sierra Leone Palm Oil Production Project in Jong and Sogbini chiefdoms, Bonthe District.
As part of his assessment of the impact of the deadly Ebola disease on the agricultural sector, Dr. Sesay also inspected the project store at Gambia village in Mattru Jong, which houses various equipment of the palm oil project.
Speaking during a meeting at MAFFS offices in the Mattru township, Dr. Sesay expressed delight at being part of the visit as “the district is very close to the President’s heart”.
He said government was committed to bringing developmental projects to the people of Bonthe district, with the aim to improving lives and livelihoods, adding that the palm oil project is one of such, and appealed for total support from the community and local stakeholders in ensuring its successful implementation.
He disclosed that the project would construct health and community centers, schools, markets, and create more jobs for the youth and other members of the district, in addition to ongoing scholarship scheme being enjoyed by indigenes to pursue higher education.
The minister assured that the project is here to stay as it is modelled along the world-acclaimed Malaysian example.
Host Paramount Chief, P.C. Alhaji A.B. Sheriff III, pledged his unwavering support to the implementation of the project. He thanked President Ernest Bai Koroma for mediating between himself and former minister Syl Gobba.
“Me and my brother are working in peace now to bring the necessary development to our people through the government,” PC Sheriff stated, adding that the community would render all the needed support for the project to succeed.
He applauded the Agriculture Minister for choosing his chiefdom as a development beneficiary, referred to him as a “good friend”.
Presidential Adviser on Agriculture, Dr. Sheku G. Kamara, said the president has immense interest and love for Bonthe district. He also appealed for total community support for the project, which he noted would ensure the district regains its lost glory.
Assistant District Officer (ADO) Bonthe, Andrew P.J. Kaipumoh, assured the minister and entourage that his office would ensure the project gets the necessary boost to thrive, as well as creating a conducive environment for officials to carry out their work.
The palm oil project is funded by the government of Sierra Leone and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) with over 45,000 hectares of plantation in Sogbini and Jong chiefdoms respectively. It is also expected that a mill will be constructed to process the product in addition to other community development packages for Bonthe district.