By Ibrahim Tarawallie
With support from the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), stakeholders in the agricultural sector yesterday validated the draft Seed Regulations, a document which seeks to ensure that seeds imported into the country are of high quality and follow the right procedures.
The meeting at Leone Lodge, west of Freetown, brought together key stakeholders in the agriculture sector from across the country to share their invaluable inputs so as to enrich the draft document.
Representative from Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency (SLeSCA), A.B. Massaquoi emphasised that seed is a critical input in the enterprise of farming, which is why the sector should be regulated and formalised.
“This draft document, when passed into law, will ensure that the seed sector becomes a very attractive enterprise. It is my hope that participants will make their valuable inputs to this document,” he said.
Also, WAAPP Deputy Project Coordinator, Sulaiman Sesay, described the meeting as critical to the successful implementation of the project in the country. He told participants that the WAAPP project has a responsibility to improve farmers’ access to quality seeds, while at the same time generating and disseminating technology to them.
Sesay said WAAPP was approached by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security to aid the revitalisation and restructuring of the seed sector, a request they agreed to, and urged participants to thoroughly review the document and suggest relevant changes to enhance its utility.
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Chief Agriculture Officer, Francis Abdul Rahman Sankoh noted that the outcome of the meeting would help restore law and order in the seed sector. He maintained that efforts have been made in the past to provide quality seeds to farmers, but stressed that seeds have brought into the country without due process of the law.