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Farming is not modern day slavery work

-  SOBBA co-founder

May 9, 2016 By Regina Pratt

Co-founder of Strategic Organisation for Building Business Initiatives in Agriculture (SOBBA), Mr. Joseph Conteh, says farming is not a modern day slavery, but something that should excite.

He made this statement during a one day symposium for school children and teachers at the British Council last Tuesday, while informing them about the operations of SOBBA.

Delivering a paper on the topic ‘Unlocking the potential of Sierra Leone’s Young Generation’, Mr. Conteh says young folks do not want to go into farming, adding that the average age of Sierra Leone farmers is 40.

He further said that young folks see agriculture as a pathway to poverty, suffering and not a money making machine, urging that for a change in perception.

“Mobile phone has increased productivity in farming as farmers use phone to sell out their products,” he said, and adds that their organisation respects the local culture and engages all community leaders.

Chief Executive Officer of SOBBA, Santos Conteh, told the gathering that SOBBA is a Sierra Leonean owned organisation which was founded in 2010 with their motto being ‘Making Chronic Hunger, Malnutrition and Poverty History’,  organised by four families from Kagbere, Markoloh, Kamalo-Mayemi and Manga Burreh villages in the Port Loko district.

He said SOBBA is geared towards ensuring that old farming practices and resources are effectively combined with modern agro-business techniques to become one of foremost agricultural seed multiplication and distribution pioneering businesses in the country.

He said the objective of the organisation is to grow seedlings, promote agriculture and produce quality seeds, adding that Kamalo is one of their main operation areas where they train farmers how to multiply crops countrywide

Representing the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Agriculturist in the ministry, Mr. A. R. Sankoh, noted that agriculture was hitherto regarded as a way of punishment, but it is one of the areas of opportunity now as areas like crop protection, agricultural engineering, etc, are careers that could lead to public, private employment or self employment.

Sankoh, who spoke on the theme ‘creating opportunities for the young generation in agriculture’, urged the need to capacitate farmers to embark on large scale farming in the country.

He also on farmers to concentrate on low land farming as upland farming is not quite ‘friendly’.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Alhaji Mohamed Kamara, called on all and sundry to think about agriculture and congratulated SOBBA on their achievement, urging the need to embrace agriculture.

School children from the St. Joseph’s Convent, Sierra Leone Grammar School, Methodist Boys High School, etc received gift bags.

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