Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a determined effort to reduce dependence on food imports and bolster domestic food production, Madam Yatta Samah, the President of the National Federation of Farmers of Sierra Leone, has revealed their ambitious plan to engage 72,000 farmers in agricultural production, aiming to feed approximately eight million people through Operation “Feed Salone.”
During a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, Madam Samah emphasized that these 72,000 farmers play a pivotal role as primary producers of agricultural products and are essential to the success of “Feed Salone.” She underscored the importance of providing these farmers with high-quality seeds and a loan scheme that would serve as a motivating factor for their agricultural endeavours.
Madam Samah recalled that, for many years, Sierra Leone has faced challenges in feeding its population. To address these issues, the “Feed Salone” strategies were introduced; however, she acknowledged that many farmers initially did not fully comprehend the program’s objectives. To bridge this knowledge gap, efforts were made to engage and sensitize farmers across various provinces in the country about the project’s goals and requirements.
She went on to stress the vital need for water irrigation in rural and provincial farms across the country, calling upon the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government of Sierra Leone to facilitate this necessary infrastructure.
Madam Samah also expressed concerns about past agricultural projects that sometimes involved non-practicing farmers. To prevent such occurrences, the National Federation of Farmers Sierra Leone has taken proactive measures. They have registered all their farmers, complete with photographs and village locations, and provided each farmer with a unique identification code. This systematic approach will help differentiate between genuine practicing farmers and those who may attempt to illegitimately benefit from government projects.
Furthermore, Madam Samah revealed that two thousand farming locations across Sierra Leone have been identified to cultivate crops such as rice and cassava, with the aim of reducing reliance on food imports and promoting self-sufficiency. AJ/11/10/2023