SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 By Regina Pratt
Addressing a meeting in the conference hall of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation at Youyi building in Freetown yesterday, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay said there has been an increase in prices of both local and imported rice by 7% and 10% respectively due to the Ebola outbreak.
During the presentation ceremony of the Agriculture Sector Response programme to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in line with the fight against the Ebola outbreak, Dr. Sesay said his ministry is committed to ensure food security in the Ebola ravaged country, as he had engaged farmers, local and international marketers, as well as securing US$1 million from ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) before the outbreak.
He noted that plans are underway to solicit additional funding from bilateral and multilateral partners.
He acknowledged that there is a massive reduction in the supply of commodities in the local market although he is hopeful there would be “light at the end of the tunnel”.
While doing the presentation, National Coordinator of the Smallholder Commercialization Programme, Prince Kamara, highlighted the concerns of human-to-human link, including the closure of trade fairs, case management, grains reserve at district level, and the socio-economic importance of the Ebola outbreak.
Also speaking, new Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, lauded the Agriculture Ministry and World Food Programme (WFP) for complementing government’s efforts in the fight to contain the disease.
He underscored the importance of all line ministries in confronting the challenges posed by the outbreak and partnering to eradicate the disease from the country.
He said strengthening the partnership between his ministry and WFP would go a long way in addressing the needs of quarantined homes, treatment centers and isolation units.