The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has formally handed over a seed bank to the Tambaka community in the Fintonia chiefdom, district.
The bank includes 400 bushels of groundnut seeds and 400 bushels of rice and was donated to the farmers in that community as part of their Le40million compensation awarded to that chiefdom for having been declared arms-free.
The assistant project coordinator, Ibrahim Sillah said they had fulfilled the promise made to the people that after collecting all arms, a cash reward would be given for the chiefdom’s development.
He said the trauma the people experienced during and after the war should be a thing of the past, urging them to unite to develop their chiefdom.
“If there are no arms in a chiefdom people can feel safe,” he said, stressing that the seed bank was identified by the community out of their award fund to engage in groundnut and rice farming.
Mr Sillah admonished them not to eat the seed but to utilise it for its intended purpose.
The secretary in charge of the seed bank project, Usman Kamara expressed gratitude to UNDP for the donation, adding “you have been a blessing to us in several ways in developing our chiefdoms”.
He said UNDP had organised a series of training sessions for them.404 arms were collected in Tambaka among them 150 active arms. Mr Kamara lamented over the long distance people had to travel to sell their produce in bigger towns, and promised that they would distribute the seeds evenly so that all in the section would benefit. Our correspondent who witnessed the hand-over ceremony, said there is only one secondary school in Fintonia chiefdom which has a population of about 17,000 inhabitants.
He said this was reason there was a high rate of school dropouts in the area.
It was also disclosed that most children prefer to go over to Guinea to do business while most of the young men and women have left the village to settle in other areas, as school children have to walk about 14 miles to Kamakwie to attend senior secondary school.