$34 million West African project supports rice farming in Bonthe and Kambia districts

Tamba Tengbeh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 October 2020:

The Sierra Leone Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) last week held its inaugural National Steering Committee meeting to discuss the progress.  The Committee is responsible for providing high-level policy advice and oversee project implementation.

The Sierra Leone Regional Rice Value Chain Project is jointly funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, the Islamic Development Bank and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).

The meeting brought together the Ministers of Gender and Children Affairs, Environment, Trade and Industry, Water Resources, Youth, Finance including the Senior Economist from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and other partners in the agriculture sector to approve the annual work plan, budget and the procurement plan for the Regional Rice Value Chain Project .

The overall objective of the RRVCP is to contribute to reducing the high rice importation and enhance economic growth through improved production, processing, and marketing as well as enhancing private sector participation in the country.

Acting Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Dr. Abu Bakarr Karim disclosed that the $34.12million  project will target two districts, Bonthe and Kambia districts, noting that 7000 farmers will be targeted, 5000 in Tormabum (Bonthe) and 2000 in Mambolo/Samu chiefdoms of (Kambia) respectively.

He added that the project is designed for five participating countries in the West Africa sub region (Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone) over a period of 10 years.

“Sierra Leone is importing what it can produce in abundance. There is sufficient land suitable for rice farming, with vast grassland agro-ecology zones in the country (bolilands, riverain) and inland valley swamps (IVS) providing best options. It is in this regard, His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, approached the Islamic Development Bank in 2018, to include Sierra Leone in the Regional Rice Value Chain Programme,” he noted.

Minister Karim informed his gathering that the project is expected to contribute significantly to issues relating to Increasing efficiency along the commodity chain to make price competitive, improve  management and quality standard, and creating an enabling policy environment.

He concluded that the Tormabum project is a priority for the government, considering the job opportunities it will create for the youths, reduce rice imports – thus saving much needed foreign exchange for the country.

The Project Coordinator of the Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Abdulai Bun Wai said the project will support smallholder farmers to be organized into productive entities in cultivating the 35, 000 hectares of farmland to increase on their income, reduce poverty and food insecurity, as well as improve the livelihood of rural population.

He noted that the project will contribute to an increased production of rice by 50 %, using the private sector value chain approach with support from other agricultural entities.

Mr Bun Wai explained that 7000 farmers will be supported with certified seed rice and quality fertilizers including the rehabilitation of two mill machines in Tormabum, three storage facilities for farmers, two rural market facilities and capacitate farmer cooperatives ( 45 women and 45 youth groups ).

3 Comments

  1. Mr L Colsen, suffice to say I start to suspect you are either working for this Bio government in the propaganda department of the ministry of misinformation, or some fellow countryman that has become a victim of Bio’s misinformation department, who happens to suffer from what can only be described as the Stockholm syndrome. And the diagnosis of that aliment, is when the victim start to identify and hold, or sympathise with the ideology of his hostage taker. In which case, I will refer you to the on going corruption cases, for both past, and present government ministers caught up in the web of the anti corruption commission.

    Unless of course we are talking about a different Sierra Leone that since independence, has unlike other corrupt African countries, that are blessed with natural resources, but due to corruption can’t even feed itself or grow its own staple food . Maybe the Sierra Leone you are talking about has under this corrupt Bio government, grown its economy, and it has become the beacon of West Africa. That this country with its natural resources is the only African country that can boast of never asking for IMF loans. And graduates are coming out of universities, straight into jobs. Youth unemployment is the lowest since records began. Tribal and regional differences is a fool’s errand.

    That President Bio in two years after taking office through his strong leadership has managed to attract foreign direct investment . He will go down in history as the best president Sierra Leoneans ever wished for. He is recognised by other world leaders. Recently, President Bio was invited to participate in the G20 of industrial nations, for which Sierra Leone due to its strong economic performance is a member. And Sierra Leonean leaders are envy of other African countries. So I will take no lectures from any Sierra Leonean that try to deny the endemic and entrenched corruption in our country that for years have denied us the development we deserve.

  2. Kotor Jalloh, please give names and addresses of the gigantic mansions and the stolen land owned by ministers to the news media and the ACC for further scrutiny. Thank you for your patriotism.

  3. It seems like all roads of experimental development projects under Bio’s new direction government leads to Kambia and Bonthe District. As this report highlighted, the two districts are part of a wider West African pilot project that is geared towards investing in our local farmers, to help them improve their agricultural productivity and make food sufficiency a reality in ten years in this trial countries – Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Sierra leone.

    These countries are the chosen ones, for this Region Rice Value chain project. As far as implementing this programmes, Gambia and Senegal that have a well integrated and productive agricultural sector are the only ones that will give our farmers a run for their money. Despite the international nature of this well meaning project, I wonder how much of this money will reach the farmers in these two districts, without ending up fattening up Bio’s corrupt government ministers.

    These are the real competitors that TEAM SIERRA LEONE faces. Because, not for the first time, since Bio came to power, there has being an international goodwill towards his government. The IMF, ADB, Canada, China, the Nordic countries, The Middle Eastern countries, Asia, India, the United States, the European union, our country has being showered with money. Apart form Bio’s flagship project the Free education, which is by all means welcomed, there is nothing tangible or long term projects planned for the future development of our country.

    Well the only concrete evidence under Bio’s government, is the big villas they are building in stolen private lands. Not for the country’s home communities but for themselves.

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