SLeCAD hosts farewell dinner for outgone Agriculture Minister


May 21, 2018

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

L-R: Outgone Minister of Agriculture Prof. Monty Jones, new minister Mr. Joseph Ndanema and spouse

Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development  (SLeCAD) on Wednesday, 16th May, organised a farewell dinner for the outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Monty Jones at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.

The dinner was hosted to celebrate the power of unity as the Ministry of Agriculture transitions into a new dispensation.

Executive Secretary of SLeCAD, Ahmed Nanoh, said the purpose of the dinner was to welcome the new minister and bid farewell to the outgoing Minister of Agriculture.

He said SLeCAD was established with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Ministry of Trade and Industry, development partners like IFAD and Food and Agriculture Orgnisation, GIZ, noting that the agribusiness sector player requested their own chamber – a chamber that will advocate for their needs and promote agribusiness and agro industrialisation process in the country.

Nanoh said their mandate, among many other things, includes to organise  farmers, agribusiness private sector players, input dealers, agric marketers and all the players along the agri- business market value chain in order to promote agribusiness and agri-industrialisation.

“It is very important for a country to produce its own food, package it, add value, and circulate it to the market. Thus, it will be very difficult for our foreign exchange and even our GDP and balance of payment for us to get where we are in terms of job creation if we cannot add value and export our produce,” he said, adding that 65% of Sierra Leoneans are working in agriculture.

The executive secretary said the chamber currents works on information marketing system with GIZ , adding that they’ve shown strong interest in that area.

He further revealed that they are partnering with Sierra Leone Export and Investment Promotion Agency, Office of Diaspora and Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, amongst many other private agribusiness sector players in the country.

He praised the outgone agriculture minister for what he referred to as his immeasurable work towards the development of the agriculture sector in the country and wished him all the best in his future endeavours.

Prof. Monty Jones thanked all the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture for working with him during his tenure as minister.

He said as minister, they were able to provide incentives to farmers and help them with cash to do their agriculture work.

Prof. Jones said that in his short term at the ministry, he did his best to promote agriculture in the country despite huge challenges.

He said he will always be willing to provide professional advice as and when needed by the incoming minster and wished him all the best.

Incoming Minister, Joseph J. Ndanema, said he was honoured and humbled for the dinner organised by SLecAD.

He said that although he was taking up a challenging ministry, he believes he is tough to handle it, adding that the president has instructed him that his sector should achieve food self-sufficiency as promised in their party’s New Direction manifesto.

“We will reduce the importation of food, particularly rice; that has been a clear instruction [from the president],’’ Minister Ndanema said.

He said the outgoing minister is his mentor and that he would collaborate with him even as he leaves office because his predecessor has a lot experience to share with him.

He said his leadership would be based on discipline and accountability as that was the way to development, thus promising that he will use his wealth of experience to create a change in the ministry.