The Chinese Embassy in Freetown is set to support Njala University with the establishment of a 250 hectare community farm across five villages in the Kori Chiefdom, Moyamba District.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Njala University, Professor Osman Sankoh (Mallam O) has always been keen on harnessing Chinese support to contribute to the transformation of Njala University.
A few months ago, Mallam O was able to secure funding of two hundred million Leones (Le200m) from Chinese Ambassador Hu Zhangliang for providing desks and chairs for students. Quite recently, he was again able to convince Ambassador Hu to support the university establish a 250-hectare community farm.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Njala Campus and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Njala University, Professor Koroma, through the Community Relations Office, was able to effectively engage the communities leading to the securing of 250 hectares of arable and virgin land surrounded by the Taia River, making it possible for an irrigation system.
On Saturday 30th January 2021, Ambassador Hu dispatched a delegation to Njala University headed by Mr Bi Yang to assess the said land with a view to kick-start the project.
The visiting delegation was received at Foya Village, Kori Chiefdom by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Njala Campus, Professor Mohamed Bashiru Koroma, Deans of the Schools of Technology and Agriculture and Food Sciences, the Director of Physical Plant Services, and other members of the Njala University administration, senior chiefdom stakeholders and traditional authorities of the five villages that provided the land.
Professor Koroma introduced Mr Bi and his team to the community stakeholders on behalf of the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal and thanked them for paying an assessment visit to the land.
He disclosed to the community stakeholders that the project will enable the university to effectively meet its corporate social responsibility to the host communities and also create jobs and economic livelihoods for the youths of Kori Chiefdom and beyond.
The visiting Chinese team later toured the length and breadth of the 250 hectare land. The head of the delegation, Mr Bi, expressed his satisfaction over the suitability of the land for the project and reported that he will brief Ambassador Hu and advise him accordingly on the machinery and other requirements to kick-start the project.
The Chinese envoy further assured the community stakeholders that the project will provide training for community and extension workers of the university while also providing hybrid seeds and tools for farmers.
Mr Bi noted that they would preliminarily start the project with the clearing of the land, the building of roads and drainages to allow machines to clear and till the land, and the building of an administrative area, warehouse, and other facilities.
The Section Chief of Kori-Chiefdom and the Town Chiefs of the five villages expressed their satisfaction with the project and are hopeful it would create not only employment for their youths but also the necessary support to farmers.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor assured the Chinese team that his administration has already set-up a technical team comprising of the Dean of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Professor Alieu Mohamed Bah, as the expert for the identification of the right crops, and Drs. Paul Moiwo and Blango, who will also provide expert advice on the engineering requirements of the project.