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160,000 50kg bags of fertilizers for agriculture

May 31, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai

Prof. Monty Jones (right) explaining his efforts to boost agricultural production and productivity

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Prof. Monty Jones, has told pressmen on Monday that  his ministry has secured one hundred and sixty thousand (160,000)  fifty kilograms (50kg) bags of fertilizer available to be supplied to farmers.

Prof. Jones made the above disclosure in the ministry’s conference room,Youyi Building in Freetown, while addressing pressmen about his achievements so far, since he took over the mantle of leadership at the ministry some 17 months ago.

“This is the highest number of fertilizers ever purchased by this ministry for farmers. The highest we have had before was forty thousand (40,000) bags of fifty kilograms (50kg) of fertilizers,” he said.

He added that because farmers in Sierra Leone use the lowest amount of fertilizers on crops in the sub-region, results to the lowest yield in agricultural products.

He said because of that figure of  available fertilizers, he intended to see bumper harvest this year, calling on the media to support the ministry in sensitizing  farmers to use fertilizers on their crops.

He disclosed that Sierra Leone has the best land for rice production in Tormabum, the best for cocoa and coffee in the eastern region and the best for cashew in the Northern region.

“My ministry has succeeded in encouraging large number of youth to go back to the farm and cultivate crops. We now have persons with disability owning farms in the provinces. We have been able to increase agricultural production and productivity,” he disclosed.

 “Because of the numerous measures put in place by this ministry, farmer’s profitability increased to 20% recently.”

He disclosed that female youth groups have been boosting agriculture in Sierra Leone, adding that most of them have told his ministry that because of their interventions in agriculture, there was significant reduction in domestic violence and prostitution.

The MAFFS Minister said his ministry was working so hard in order to increase production for both domestic and foreign markets, calling on all Sierra Leoneans to embrace agriculture.

He said every Sierra Leonean should fight for the profitability of farmers in the agriculture sector by urging all to eat locally produced foodstuff, especially rice which has lots of protein content.

“We have ordered that 80% of devolved fund that goes through the local councils should be used for agricultural purpose. We have tasked every district to cultivate 50 or more acres of rice. We will not relent until Sierra Leone is self-sufficient in rice, sweet potato, palm oil, cocoa and coffee, cattle, chicken, goats and sheep, pigs,” he said.

He added that farmers should be able to produce enough for the country and export in order to enhance foreign exchange.

He disclosed that plans were underway for the control of prices for locally produced foodstuffs. One of the ways to do that, he added, was to flood the markets with domestic products.

Prof. Jones said his ministry recently started a direct cash transfer scheme and farmers pledged to account for every single cent spent, disclosing that his ministry successfully recovered 100% of the direct cash transfer to farmers in 2016.

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