Quite recently our Northern region correspondent took a 15 miles journey to the Buya Romende chiefdom Port Loko district to observe farming activities at the Matoko Agricultural development project undertaken in the district, answering to the call of the president to improve on food production in Sierra Leone.
The Matoko agricultural development project started some time ago with a view of creating job opportunities for young Sierra Leoneans and also to help in achieving the food security drive pronounced by his Excellency the president who has, not too long ago made agriculture his government’s number one priority.
Matoko agricultural development project caters for 7 villages in the Buya Romende chiefdom, about 8 miles from the Portloko district headquarter town Lunsar. The farm occupies 500 Acres of varying farm produce, including 100 acres of cous-cous, 50 acres ground nuts, 9 acres cassava, 13 acres ginger and about 25 acres of cashew nuts.
The Master Farmer Alpha Kabbah was one of those awarded a certificate of merit by the president in the just concluded world food and poverty day programme held in Magburaka Town says the project was initiated some 4 to 5 years ago, (and though) much has been covered but also much needs to be done.
He says the attention of government and other donor agencies are needed to help with other farming materials and technology to improve the quality and quantity of production.
He is of the Opinion that if government pays more attention on agriculture and help those that have already set the pace, Sierra Leone as a nation will soon begin to produce on a large scale for export.
Already the Matoko agricultural project has provided jobs for 300 young men and women in the nearby villages and has also provided facilities such as drying floor, storage facility among other things to help improve agricultural production.
The government of Sierra Leone has recently prioritized agriculture putting it number one on its agenda, according to Samuel Kamara the Nerica Rice project Officer from the ministry of agriculture based in Lunsar. He says that government has increased its support to achieving food security, by improving characterization and other inputs to improve on the quality and quantity of agricultural produce.
He advised farmers to make use of such opportunities to achieve food sufficiency.
The women were also not left out, infact according to the Master farmer women are considered the strong backbone in achieving this goal, Aminata is the supervisor for the women working on that project, she praised the effort of the Master farmer for living his comfort zone in the UK and coming back home to help develop the lives of the poor people in that area, she says all the women are grateful to him for his support, she called on government and other donor agencies to assist in the development of the Matoko Agricultural project.