A high powered delegation from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) over the weekend met the Agriculture and food security minister, Dr Joseph Sam Sesay, to discuss about the viability of agricultural projects supported by the IDB.
Dr Sesay appreciated the IDB’s positive response to the country’s development agenda particularly in the area of support to the agricultural sector.
He highlighted the positive impact the Bank’s funded project had made in building the capacity for oil palm production, processing and marketing on the lives of communities and the country as a whole.
Whilst assuring government’s commitment in ensuring the success of the project, he said the country was in a hurry to expand the project from its pilot phase to a national programme for which he requested the support from the Bank to support survey and feasibility studies on the development of the oil palm industry its policy and plan. Dr Sesay spoke on the diversified food production project which was funded by IDB has concluded its inaugural meetings and pre-programmed orientation.
The minister further disclosed that government was endeavoring to move the agricultural sector from subsistence to commercial production for which one major area that needed donor consideration was irrigation.
The IDB project officer, Dr Moussa Traore, disclosed that his delegation would among others do follow-ups on the ongoing operations of the Bank’s funded projects and also engage in the preparation of the second phase of the project for capacity building for oil palm production, processing and marketing. Dr Traore expressed delight over the enthusiasm and determination of the Agriculture ministry in promoting agricultural development in the country, thus stating the Bank’s willingness to continue supporting the on-going agricultural projects as the genuine requests will also be considered. The IDB country officer, Dr Abdoul Radiaye Bah, disclosed that the Bank had prepared a special programme for the development of Africa for which Sierra Leone was selected as one of two countries identified for pilot projects.
He praised Sierra Leone for being the fastest growing in the sub-region despite having the smallest port folio at the IDB and could access more funding by simply improving its programme management.
After the meeting with the minister, the Bank officials inspected the 1,432.89 hectares of oil palm and a courtesy call on the paramount chief of Jong chiefdom Alie Badar Sheriff.