A Local Non Governmental Organization known as Foundation for Environmental Sustainability and Security (FESS) operating in Koidu city has meaningfully engaged over fifty youths in agriculture removing them from the mining fields.
Explaining to the UN delegation and Diplomats who paid a one day working visit to Koidu town last Wednesday 18th March 2009, at one of the site along Massingbi road known as 55 spot in Koidu city the farm manager of FESS Sahr Kaimbey told the delegation that the formation of FESS is an initiative of one David Gbondo who is currently based in Freetown, with the aim of diverting the interest of youths from mining to agriculture.
He disclosed that the organization is currently engaging the services of youths in the city and its environs there by reclaiming mined out areas in the district into meaningful agricultural use, pointing out that mining is gambling and is a game of chance but agriculture is sure ball and sustainable.
He said FESS started operations in Kono district three years ago and since then they have reclaimed so many acres of land which is now being put into commercial use for the benefit of not only the chiefdom but the youths themselves.
Kaimbey revealed that last year twelve bushels of rice was planted on one of the reclaimed land and after harvesting they realized 204 bushels of rice followed by the planting of other agricultural products.
He added that they are currently reclaiming about 60 acres of land at the 55 spot in which they are now preparing water ways canals and heaps. FESS is now trying to be utilizing each reclaimed land three times a year.
Talking about the ownership of the land he said it belongs to the chiefdom authorities and it is always being reclaimed and being put in use with their consent.
He said all the workers are employed and they receive allowances. Le 6,500 is paid to each worker per day, out of which 2,500 goes for food for work.
The work is going on with training and each worker is encouraged to have a backyard garden.
Kaimbey said more youths are realizing themselves and are buying their ideas by joining them in reclaiming more lands for agricultural use.
He therefore appealed to the government, the UN delegation and other NGOs to come to their aid in diverting the minds of thousands of youths in the district who are now roaming the mine fields to agriculture.
Speaking to the delegation one of the workers Kumba Hannah Gbogbo expressed thanks to FESS for engaging them into such a meaningful activity that is now earning them a lot.
She said before now her husband has been in the mining field for decades without much dividend, she thanked God that FESS has now focused their attention to agriculture which has now enabled her to pay her children’s school fees, clothes and do so many other things at the moment. I prefer agriculture than mining she ended.
Present in the delegation were the Executive Representative of the Secretary General (ERSG) Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg, Ambassador of Iran, H.E. Nosratollah Maleki, European Union Head of Delegation, Mr. Hans Allden, Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Rolf Saligmann and Ms. Premget Saligmann, Ambassador of China, H.E. Qiu Shaofang, Minister in the office of the Vice President, Mr. Leonard Balogun Koroma, Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Dauda S. Kamara among others.