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1,600 metric tons of improved varieties of seed rice

-50,000 farmers to benefit

May 6, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has disclosed that a total of 1,600 metric tons of improved varieties of seed rice will be provided to some fifty thousand farmers across the country.

Professor Monte Jones told a presser in Freetown recently that the rice seed goes beyond what was required to satisfy farmers and expressed fervent hope that farmers would continue to use their land for thorough farming.

He stated that the rationale behind the provision of the improved varieties of seed rice to farmers, as well as assorted vegetable seeds, 42, 000 bags of fertiliser for first application, assorted machineries, including power tillers, tractors, combine farm weeders, harvesters and threshers, among others, was to enable the country move away from subsistence to commercialised agriculture.

“I believe strongly that in two seasons, we should be able to achieve food self sufficiency with some of these commodities we are mentioning now. We want to also make sure that our farmers’ access quality and improve inputs,” he said.

He spoke about the ministry’s determination and readiness to increase production and productivity, value addition on agricultural produce, linking farmers to the market, increasing wheat, vegetable oil and flour as well as flooding the market with agricultural products.

“We have put together a work programme that goes with the Presidential programme, running for 10 to 24 months. We believe in result based approach as a ministry and we are going towards achieving what we have stated in our programme,” he said.

According to Prof. Jones, 1,050 hectares of inland valley will be properly utilised during this planting season and further disclosed that nine million seedlings of cashew, cocoa, coffee and citrus are ready for distribution to farmers.

With regards Agricultural Business Centres across the country, the Agriculture Minister said fifty-two of them will be transformed to become hubs for their respective districts and chiefdoms.

“The government wants the ministry to provide jobs for ten thousand youths. We will be doing two thousand kilometers of feeder roads across the country,” Professor Jones stated and also disclosed plans to meet with Paramount Chiefs, Local Councils, Farmers Associations, Women Farmers Organisations, the Farmers’ Federation, agricultural related companies and commercial farmers to see how they could well strategise to flood the market with agricultural produce and export some to earn the nation foreign exchange.

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