The issue of agriculture has been one of President Koroma’s main priority in his tenure in office.
In trying to support the president in this direction, the Western Area Rural District Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, on Sunday distributed over one hundred and ninety bushels of seed rice to farmers in the Koya and Newton communities as a way of promoting President Koroma’s drive in improving on the agriculture sector in the country.
The seed rice was distributed to 38 farming groups in the communities and farmers are expected to pay in return with an interest of half bushel so that others will benefit in the next distribution.
Speaking to farmers at Newton, Hon Claude Kamanda said, the decision to distribute the rice to farmers is a way of finding more solutions to the current food crisis in the country as the current government of Ernest Bai Koroma has put premium on agriculture.
He said, if community people fail to give support to the priority given to agriculture by government, then there is going to be more problem.
Hon Kamanda said, the decision to distribute the seedlings to farmers was not a political move but that the government, in collaboration with the council, is highly concerned about handling the current food crisis and to also promote agriculture and development in the country.
Speaking also at the ceremony, the District Agriculture Officer for the Western Rural District, Pemella Konneh disclosed that the supply of seed rice to farmers is not an exercise undertaken by government alone but that they have also been working in collaboration with the council.
She said, the rice for the farmers would be distributed to them in the presence of the village headmen and the council Chief Administrator in an effort to ensure transparency in the running of government.
The Chief Administrator for the council in Waterloo, while addressing the farmers said, people need to be serious for the progress of the country and that there is every need to put politics aside and move towards development. Agriculture, Bangura said is fundamental for the development of any nation.
He encouraged all those present to be involved in the production of food stuffs because, “we have as a nation got a leader with a vision and good direction in the person of President Koroma”.
While making a statement at the occasion, the council chairman, Al-hassan Cole said, this is the first time for council to be present and be involved in the distribution of seed rice to farmers in the district adding that, he was pleased to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Member of Parliament for the area in undertaking that gesture.
Cole said, the government of President Koroma puts much premium on agriculture especially the production of food and that, his current concentration in the provision of energy for people shows that, he is a committed president.
The increase in the prices of food stuffs on the market, Cole said, is not the fault of government but that, the current government is greatly concerned about that.
He called on the field officers to ensure, they continue monitoring the farms of people to whom the seedlings are distributed to. He also encouraged farmers to ensure they pay in return with the expected interest as that will give courage to the council and the ministry to give more support to farmers. Cole also admonished farmers to do what is expected of them. Farmers who spoke to Awoko expressed their joy over such gesture by the council and the ministry and promised to meet the expectations of both parties in the area of paying back with an interest of half bushel.
The Waterloo Council, under the current leadership of Al-hassan Cole is reported to have done well especially in the area of tax collection and allowing people’s participation in the running of council, following the removal from office of its then Chairman, Alieu Badara Mansaray.