VOX POP with Yusufu S. Bangura & Mohamed J. Kargbo: Citizens demand next president to invest in agriculture

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As it is less than 30 days for Sierra Leoneans to elect a new president, citizens say they will want the next president or government to focus on the area of food sufficiency by embarking on agricultural development.

Agricultural development has a key role to play in generating the income needed to ensure food security, they said.

High prices impose undeniable hardship on the poorest consumers, including many subsistence farmers whose production is insufficient to meet their consumption needs.    

In this Vox Pop, Concord Times’ Yusufu S. Bangura & Mohamed J. Kargbo, on Thursday, took to the streets of Freetown to gauge the views of citizens to know what they want the next president to do for the country.

Alhaji Amadu Momoh, Driver

As for me, the first thing I will like the next president to address is the economy because when the economy is not steady we will continue to have food insufficiency. Secondly, he should control the exchange rate . I believe that when these two areas are under control we will have food sufficiency.

Due to the high exchange rate,especially  with the Dollar, all food items have been skyrocketed and the situation is getting out of hands. We are praying for the next president to tackle these areas.

In the area of agriculture, I will like the next government to empower the farmers because they are meant to produce food for the country. Let ask God to give us a leader that will take this country to a higher level that we all can boast of.

Sahr Junior, Mercury Retailer

In my own opinion as a citizen, my wish is for God to bless us with a good leader that will help us because as it stands now cost of living is so high and he should tackle the food crisis in this country.

In some homes where there is no food there won’t be any peace so the next president needs to solve the area of food as things are so difficult for us because we are not exporting much. So, if we invest in our country everything will be simple, but we rather depend on imported food.

If the price of one bag of rice is above Nle 600.00 how can that ordinary citizen afford it? So, we hope and pray that the next president will put things in place to provide food for us.

The average Sierra Leonean doesn’t want to know what is happening in the government if he has something to eat, but if there is nothing to eat he or she will involve in harmful activities.

Francess Kamara, Assistant Coordinator at Peace Ambassador

As a Sierra Leonean, we all know that things are not easy, but in my opinion I wish the next president will be someone that will embark on agriculture because everyone knows how food is important for human growth. 

If the next president empowers youths to work on the farm it will create job for them and we will not hear about stealing or violence because they have something to do and they will not fight for food.

The government should improve the lives of farmers by paying for  their products and encourage  them to produce more.

Daniel Yeabu Conteh, Student at FTC

 As the country stands now, I want the next president to make sure that we have food sustainability by embarking  on agriculture which will help us to stop importing food from other countries. We should be able to produce our own food so that other countries will start buying from us.

When there is enough food in the country we will have a peaceful society and as a student when I have something to eat, I will pay attention to my lectures. But, if there is no food I will not pay attention because an empty bag cannot stand.

 Abdulai Conteh, Businessman

I want the next president to invest in agriculture and that will help us a lot. As it stands now we depend on imported goods and the taxes and GSTs are high on those imported goods. 

Let the government try to develop the Agriculture sector which  I believe will be helpful and solve many problems.

Mohamed M. Mansaray, Student at IPAM

I will like my own candidate that I am sure will win this election to invest in farming because farming can generate income for a country. For example, China is now a super-world because they produce their own rice and export it to various countries.

So, if Sierra Leone does something similar to that it will help the country a lot.And we know our staple food is rice and government spends millions of Dollars to import rice, but if the next government embarks on rice cultivation  we will be able to tackle the food problem and even export more.

Randolph A Willison, Lecturer at IPAM

The food problem in this country is a very serious one and I feel for every serious government that will be the first thing they will address. For every human being to live well they require proper food.

One of the ways for the coming government to address the food problem is to embark on intensive farming and meaningful agricultural drive. When people go into agriculture that will bring food security because there will be enough food to eat.

Another way is for the government to reduce taxes on imported goods.When you reduce taxes on these foods that are coming into the country it makes it less expensive and people will be able to afford it. 

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