The Produce Inspector Branch office in Kenema in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security has held a one day meeting on government policy on produce quality management and revenue collection for the 2008/09 produce season with produce dealers, exporters and farmers in the East of the country at the Produce Inspection office by Maxwell Khobe street in Kenema city.
Disclosing the purpose of the meeting to participants the Senior Inspector of Produce Eastern region Mohamed Sesay said the meeting which specifically targets most produce buyers and farmers was also aimed at mapping out strategies to overcome some of the problems faced by farmers in the production of these commodities.
He said it is as a result of the poor quality of cocoa that is reaching the world market, which has prompted them to sit together with them to find a better solution for better cocoa this year.
Mr. Sesay maintained that during the war the country was producing one of the best quality cocoa in the world but however stated that now that the war is over the country is exporting poor quality cocoa which he said is giving a bad name to the country.
He stated that there should be a means of getting good quality cocoa and that cooperation should also be among exporters. He therefore called on them to pass the knowledge gained to all in order to produce good quality cocoa.
Earlier the chairman of the programme Prince Rogers who also doubles as the Agric. Officer Kenema District says the meeting was aimed at bringing all farmers, dealers and other stakeholders onboard to sensitize produce exporters and buyers on how to get good quality cocoa within the country.
He said making good use of the quality control of produce in the country is the best option to smooth commodity trade. He therefore called on all and sundry to work towards that direction in the interest of all.
The Senior produce examiner Kenema district Albert Bameh in his contribution called on the farmers, exporters and as well as dealers to work towards quality produce saying that this time round they will start to destroy poor quality cocoa in the market.
He employed all to do everything that lies in their capacity to try and improve on the quality of cocoa in Sierra Leone so that the country will regain its past glory before and during the war.
The Senior produce examiner S. M. Josiah who spoke on produce staff appealed to dealers and exporters to provide the inspection team in the region with mobility so that they will sensitize the farmers and agents on good quality cocoa production in the country.
In his contribution Mr. Mohamed A.D.Kargbo who is the Senior Inspector of Produce Western Area disclosed that as a government they will start controlling the export of poor quality cocoa from the top that is with the dealers, adding that most of the exporters are only focusing on quantity and not quality.
He stated that exporting of poor quality of cocoa is a concern to government pointing out that he wants exporters to concentrate on quality and not quantity, as quality will earn them money and portray a good image of the country of origin.
Contributing Mr. Lamin Kosia one of the produce buyers in Kenema city said the buying of poor quality cocoa is from the buyers themselves and therefore called on all to look out for good quality cocoa from the farmers this time round, while an exporter in Kenema M.S.Dayoub called on government to levy tax on all those who buy poor quality cocoa as such measure will go a long way in solving the problem of poor quality.
Mr. S.E.Bobor the Assistant Senior Inspector of Produce Kailahun and
A.B.Mustapha of Eastern Region Farmers Cooperative also made meaningful contributions. Most of the suggestion from the participants were mostly based on the sensitization and education of farmers and buying agents mainly on radio discussion programme and meeting at farm gate at chiefdom level.
Mr. Steven Amara moved the vote of thanks.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema