Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 February 2020:
Last Sunday, 9th February 2020, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) – Dr Akinwumi Adesina, held talks with President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone on the margins of the AU Summit, taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where both leaders discussed ways to improve farming in Sierra Leone, scale up nutrition and defeat stunting in children.
“Mr President, malnutrition accounts for at least 11 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product. We have 65 per cent of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land. We have an abundance of freshwater and about 300 days of sunshine a year. There’s no reason for anyone to go hungry,” Adesina told president Bio.
Dr Adesina (Photo – centre), who expressed interest in visiting Sierra Leone next month, also told the President and his delegation that the African Development Bank has already committed about US$14 million, to help implement innovation in agriculture, tackle corruption in fertilizer distribution, seeds acquisition and distributions to farmers in the country.
Before joining AfDB, the multilateral regional development finance institution based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in 2015, Dr Adesina was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture from 2011 to 2015, where he was widely credited for reducing the risk of corruption in the fertilizer industry by putting the private sector in charge of delivery.
Adesina spoke about the Brazilian model of reducing malnutrition, adding that the country had a zero hunger programme that prioritized high level of hygiene, high quality of food and feeding in schools and made sure that most of what was supplied and served were produced by local farmers.
He urged the government of Sierra Leone to adopt that model by having a direct stake in the feeding of children in schools, so as to increase enrolment, retention, and the overall reduction of hunger and achievment of Sierra Leone’s nutrition target.
Dr Adesina observed that: “Farming might not be attractive in Sierra Leone because there is no guaranteed facility for lending to farmers. We can continue to engage your government to ensure the de-risking of farming, and introduce new rice variety”.
Sierra Leone’s Education Minister for junior and secondary schools – Dr Moinina David Sengeh, told the AfDB chief, that the Directorate of Science, Innovation and Technology, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has created the Integrated Geographic Information System Portal which utilises technology, software and devices to collect, label and model data to inform real-time government and development partner decision making.
President Bio thanked the AfDB President for his commitment to support Sierra Leone, and said he wished the bank had increased their investment, to which Dr Adesina said they would take note.
“We have placed food security at the centre of our Human Capital Development priorities. We believe that food security and nutrition are inextricably connected to the total development of the human being in achieving their full potential,” president Bio told the AfDB president.
President Bio emphasised that the greatest contributor to economic growth is not physical infrastructure but “brainpower, which I can refer to as grey matter infrastructure”, and called on the AfDB and other partners to invest in better nutrition for children – the future of the continent.
Mr Wiecha – on this glorious forum, credibility, and authenticity are considered,and relied upon as springboards for winning arguments. I asked you a few simple questions in my comment,and all you did was to respond with baseless assumptions? (lmao) Man,you can’t be serious.
Answer the questions Sir, in order for me to take you seriously. Consider this: Your unfounded sarcastic remarks directed at Dr Adesina are now like shackles around your feet,and ankles -: remove them if you can, and I will applaud.(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
Mr. Conteh, I agree with you. This is a good forum. Glorious? Maybe for you, for you are the main commentator. I don’t know if you are really informed about the situation in Brazil under this Bolsonaro. The social and human rights situatian are becoming
worse. The indigenous and small local farmers are suffering. You can read about it on america21 or from the South American journalist federico füllgraf for example. And, I don’t need your applause. Have a nice evening.
Mr Wiecha – This has nothing to do Sir,with whether the Brazilian President believes,and practices right wing,ideology of not. Neither is what being said here in any way connected to the burning,and destroying of the Rain forests, out of irresponsibility, and greed. That’s a topic for another day.(lol)
Dr Adesina was crystal clear in pointing out that Brazil has been able to make great,and admirable strides in their efforts to reduce malnutrition,and eradicate hunger,completely in their country,especially in their schools. Who doesn’t know that Brazil, through their effective,decisive,Zero Hunger Programme,has ignited a torch that spreads a glorious light in South America?
What’s wrong,I ask you,Sir,in pointing out the urgent,and sensible need for highlighting,and prioritizing high levels of hygiene,and ensuring that the quality of food being served in schools always remains high? Dr Adesina is right,the Brazilian model is truly worth emulating,because it sustains,and empowers local farmers, making them financially secure, and independent. And who is it that labors night and day,plowing the ground that wouldn’t welcome such a rare, pragmatic approach that unshackles them, totally out of the strains,pains,and chains of abject poverty?
Well,frankly,Saidu,there’s someone that just wouldn’t – and he is none other,than the distinguished gentleman Mr Reinhard Wiecha.(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
Oh Mr. Conteh, what do you know about Brazil? Maybe you get your knowledge only out of the neoliberalism main stream news?
The $14 million wether grant or loan will definitely go a long way in improving our agricultural activities. My hope is, these monies are used for the intended purpose rather than the usual corrupt practices.
Sorry, I don’t know from where Mr. Adesina got his information about the situation in brazil. From this right wing president Bolsonaro directly? The small farmers are suffering. Big foreign companies dominating the agri-culture sector in Brazil, destroying the rain forest and the variety of agricultural products.
The AFDB should know that the vast majority of citizens of Sierra Leone are starving,and going to bed hungry,daily because of priorities being given to bad policies,and strategies in governance that are not urgently needed. I am quite sure Dr Adesina is fully aware of many instances where farmers,have been left totally perplexed,and dumbfounded upon finding out, that some of the seeds they had planted,and laboriously watered,perished overnight,and refused to grow. Seeds and diverse forms of investments are almost the same thing;if an investment is not carefully planted in a robust, good environment,nurtured,and protected,as a seed in good soil,they could easily become unfruitful,and eventually die.
So my advice to AFDB is for them to do their homework very well in Sierra Leone,in an effort to highlight the problems,and challenges farmers are facing. They should conduct interviews directly with farming communities,and farmers all over the country,have all of those found eligible for assistance registered in a database that is maintained,and monitored strictly by the AFDB.
Sincerely,if Dr Adesinsa doesn’t want his good-hearted investment to become an eerie curse,instead of a blessing to the people of Sierra Leone,he must be prepared to go the extra mile,to hell,and back in order to protect their investment; In this,he should become as cautious as a soldier treading a minefield,and as focused,and precise as a skilled archer aiming for a difficult target.
Mr Adesina,make no mistakes,if this 14 million dollars AFDB investment,is left directly in the inadequate, irresponsible hands of the SLPP..might as well through in the towel,write it off,and count it as a failed project already,because its going to become inextricably entangled,strangled,and suffocated by rampant tribalism,nepotism,and unchecked arrogance. Words to the wise – watch your seeds,Sir,and make them grow.(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.