15 candidates, mostly University graduates have been prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, facilitated by United Nations Agencies (UNDP, UNIDO, FAO and USAID) to embark on a three month course on an Agricultural Business Initiative at the Songhai Center in Benin.
The candidates yesterday converged at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security to sign agreements and make clarifications on documents they will be using throughout their three months studies in Porto Novo, Benin.
The project primarily supported and financed by the aforementioned UN Agencies, is geared towards achieving plans for agricultural productivity by training agric -based personnel that will be enhancing the operation of Sierra Leone Agriculture Business Initiative (SABI), an institution presently on the pipeline at Newton Village in West Rural, purposely created for processing, packaging and marketing of agricultural products in the country.
The students will be taught while in the Songhai Agriculture Center in Benin on not only agricultural procedures and skills but to equally build the spirit of creating a platform for the development of the nation and spinoffs to set up their own satellite station to promote the proliferation of the desired objective.
The Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security Francis Sankoh, who doubled as chairman of the signing ceremony mentioned in his brief remarks that the Ministry had initiated projects on agricultural growth, and set up the National Federation of Farmers to enable the regulation of Farmers’ activities both in the Western Area and the Provinces.
Director Sankoh admonished the selected candidates to put all their efforts in what they have been selected for considering the fact that they were chosen under rigorous scrutiny and highly competitive forum in the midst of 180 competitors who were equally qualified. He therefore implored them to go with the aim of gaining more ideas to be replicated in Sierra Leone’s Agric. System.
The Programme Officer of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Tanzila Sanko who represented the Country Director affirmed that trainees will form the first crop of officials that will be operating the established Newton Palm Oil Extraction Site. She said that the Songhai Agriculture Center is globally recognized as an agric. business NGO to promote rural development and private sector growth.
UNIDO’s Head of Operation Dr. Steven Kargbo said that the experts from Songhai have installed machinery at Newton that is going to be utilized by the trainees. He said that facilities ranging from electrified accommodation and recreational activities have been created to ensure the convenience of workers who are going to be permanently resident in a bid to expedite their activities, and therefore entreat candidates to act as ambassadors when they are in Benin.
Hon. Claude Kamanda who gave the keynote remarks and in whose constituency the activities are taking place expressed gratitude for the initiation of such a programme that is geared towards managing agric. activities in those communities. He reiterated that agriculture is the engine for economic growth and prosperity hence premium should be laid on the introduction of agriculture extension programmes to stabilize human development and societal growth.
By Poindexter Sama