A private agric-business, the Sierra Leone Agric-Business Development (SLeCAD), has called on government to encourage and support farmers to continue with farming exercise, while the fight goes on.
Speaking during a press briefing held yesterday at the organization’s head office along Lumley Beach Road, the Executive Secretary of SLeCAD, Ahmed Nanoh, stated that they are aware of the fact that the country is presently faced with an epidemic that is very difficult to handle, as it tends to put all developmental activities to a standstill which is very sad for the country’s economy and the social livelihood of the people which the government together with its partners are trying to put under control.
He disclosed that SLeCAD and its membership are expertise in agric-business, a system which the government is trying to implement through the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, stating that they as the head of the Agriculture private sector can properly handle such activities to the benefit of the entire country, adding that everyone will agree with him that even before the out-break of the Ebola virus the country had been importing foodstuff from other countries.
The Executive Secretary of SLeCAD maintained that food security is very vital as far as the fight against Ebola is concerned and that 65 -66% of the country’s population are poor people, most of whom are farmers living in the provinces as they were presently afraid to even go to their farmers to do their work because of some of the Ebola messages given to them, explaining that if these farmers continue to sit down in their various homes, the fight against Ebola will be very difficult, as the people need food for their survival and one cannot take medication without having food first, and that life after Ebola will be very hard for the people as there will not be enough food to eat.
“At the moment, the farmers are not doing anything. A situation that is presently affecting the country’s economy and the social wellbeing of the people,” he recalled, stating that the war after Ebola will be starvation, as there will be little or no food in store for them to survive, while MAFFS is moving towards commercialization.
He also explained that agriculture provides 43% of the Gross Domestic Product of the country’s economy before now, ‘what will happen if Ebola continues’ as Government needs to put protective measures in place for farmers to go to work in order to keep the agric-business going.
The Chief Executive Officer of Bennimix Company, Dr. Joseph Bahsoon, states that Ebola should not prevent people from doing their normal business, because they just need to abide by the rules and regulations laid by the health experts, that is avoid unnecessary body contact, always wash hands with soap and water, explaining that if the farmers are encouraged to go to their farms, that will protect them from touching other people, as they will be alone in their work, as a result he urged the government to provide support for the framers to continue with their farming to ensure food security in the country.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Monday September 22, 2014