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AUK Food Security drive yields dividend

October 10, 2017 

 

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(l-r) AUK Project Manager-MS Kargbo and Farm Coordinator of Gbomtarawallie farm

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Ansumana Usman Koroma fondly known as AUK, a Policy Analyst in the Department of Premier and Cabinet -Australia, has responded tremendously to supporting the transformative drive of President Ernest Bai Koroma in the area of food security.

In 2007 and 2012, Food security through agriculture has been one of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s priorities as stated in pillar one of the Agenda for Prosperity, which is economic diversification in increasing agricultural productivity.

AUK has over the years invested in farming with over five hundred Sierra Leoneans currently benefiting from his Food Security Project in Pork Loko, Bombali and Tonkolili Districts.

While speaking to journalists last week during a conducted tour, Project Manager of the AUK Food Security Project, Mohamed Sahid Kargbo, said an estimated one thousand bags of rice will be harvested from more than120 acres of rice fields in November, this year.

He said they have done effective field clearing, weeding and applied fertilizer at the Gbomtarawallie farm and that “we are satisfied with the current growth of the different crops.

Describing Ansumana Usman Koroma as the farmers’ hero, Mr. Kargbo said they have done the first harvest of sweet potato in one of the villages (Mayorba) with a harvest of 34 bags. According to the Project Manager, the AUK Food Security Project is in its pilot phase and is expected to be rolled out to the 190 Chiefdoms in the country with different verities of crops.

 Mr. Kargbo added that the project will make enormous contribution towards the realization of one of the key pillars of the Agenda for Prosperity, which is economic diversification and increasing agricultural productivity.

With over six villages currently benefiting from the project, AUK believes that agriculture should be the major engine of socio-economic growth in the country.

For Mr. Kargbo, the AUK food security initiative has attracted a lot of farmers, who needed support and several villages including Gbere, Mabureh, Mabaysor, Makprr I and Makapre II.

He said they were preparing for a bumper harvest of sweet potatoes and cassava in December, 2017.

At Makprr  II village, Chief Ya Alimamy Kamara said since the ascension of President Koroma to political power in 2007, AUK has attracted meaningful investors and provided support to Sierra Leone that worth millions of United States dollars.

She described AUK as a man who upholds the popular dictum ‘eat what you grow and grow what you eat” combine with his strong belief in food sovereignty. She stated that AUK is expanding his patriotic heart to the agricultural sector of Sierra Leone, stressing that actions towards the development of Sierra Leone over the years have shown that his heart is in its right place for the people of Sierra Leone.

She disclosed that AUK has invested in farming, growing various food crops including rice, potatoes, cassava, maize, yam, groundnuts and vegetables. Over five hundred Sierra Leoneans are currently benefiting from the project dubbed ‘AUK Food Security Project’ presently in Fogbo village-Koya Chiefdom Port Loko District, Magbass village in Tonkolili District and at Mayorba village in Bombali District Northern Sierra

The Farm Coordinator for Fogbo village, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, told Concord Times that followers of AUK see him as a highly disciplined man, who has imbibed important values like respect, honesty and fairness. According to the Coordinator, AUK has excellent leadership skills and a personality that transcends tribe, region, religion and gender.

At the Makarie Gbanti Chiefdom, Mr. Census Kamara, the Farm Coordinator of the AUK Food Security Project at the Gbomtarawallie Farm site, said AUK’s international campaigns for gender equality, human right, press freedom, social justice and youth empowerment earned him many awards and the Pride of Australia Awards as the only Sierra Leonean.

He went further to state that the All People’s Congress (APC) is AUK’s childhood political party, adding that AUK has got a good understanding of how the APC evolved over the years which has certainly broadened his knowledge on politics in Sierra Leone. He is a strong pillar of the APC Australia Branch.

Born in Makeni, Bombali District in Northern Sierra Leone, AUK attended the Government Secondary School in Bo and proceeded to Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1986. He got his Post-Graduate in Education in 1987. In Australia, AUK studied Public Sector Management from Flinders University and a double Graduate Diplomas in Community Services and Frontline Management.