Sierra Leone’s First lady – Fatima Bio engages in food self-sufficiency farming

Cyril Barnes: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 November 2018:

“To attain food sufficiency, all leadership hands must be on deck.” Mrs Fatima Bio – wife of the president of Sierra Leone, is demonstrating her commitment to the attainment of food sufficiency in Sierra Leone, by establishing a 200-acre farm in Masiaka, in the Northern Province. The farm grows cash crops for market.

What President Bio once said in the well of Parliament – that all ministers and institutional heads should embark on farming, is now being zestfully translated into action by the First Lady.

Hailing the First lady as a “talk and do First Lady”, the people of Masiaka – especially women, are appreciative of her selfless ‘can do’ attitude.

The “let it shine” personality is focused on ensuring that her husband’s vision to transform Sierra Leone into a food self-sufficient nation, becomes a reality.

Fatima believes that through farming, a trail can be created for people to follow in pursuit of economic diversification, which means Sierra Leone not relying heavily on the mining sector but also concentrating on other areas such as agriculture, is realised.

The ready-to-work First Lady is challenging the claim that Sierra Leone doesn’t have capacity to grow her own food.

She truly believes that Sierra Leone can reach food sufficiency, if everyone – not only the people, but government Ministers and Heads of Departments and Agencies, can put hands on deck.

What is welcoming is her total disregard for regional and ethnic divides. The farm is established in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, demonstrating the First Lady’s commitment to making sure that no district is left behind in the fight to attain food security.

She believes that the Northern Province is as important as the other provinces and is a key actor in the strive to achieving sustainable development.

The First lady said: “This is not a time for politicking; it’s not also a time we should start thinking about where to position a development project. This is the time we must work with concerted effort to realise our development dreams. We must be in readiness to pay attention to things that are important, as politics will only divide our nation instead of uniting it.”

A key objective in establishing the farm is to inspire women to rise up and face the food self-sufficiency challenge.

Mrs Bio believes that women empowerment can best be realised through agriculture. Women said, can play a focal role in the economic development of Sierra Leone.

Drawing examples from Thailand and China, she noted that women must be in the driving seat in the attainment of food sufficiency – not simply as traders, but as farm owners.

The First Lady said: “This farm will serve a source of empowerment for the women in this community and the women in all communities in Sierra Leone.

“My aim is not to score political points, but to let women know that they must not only be servants in the kitchen but also major players in boosting our economy by embarking on agriculture.

“Agriculture is life. Therefore, we must make every reasonable effort to save life by engaging in food production. We have rich soil, enough sunshine and rain to achieve food sufficiency. So, we must take advantage of the blessings God has given us. We must defeat the purpose of rice and other food related imports by growing our crops and feeding ourselves,” she said.

3 Comments

  1. I want to first of all thank President Bio and the First lady for their interest in agriculture. I would also like them to know (may be they already know) that the future of the country’s economic prosperity lies in agriculture. So, I appeal to the president to establish a strategy or a road map towards an agro-based economy instead of the present mining based economy.

    If the president – just like the modern diagnostic center he is going to construct for the country, undertakes an aggressive, rigorous and robust agricultural policy, then he will be very popular in the country. Also, if he succeeds in these two areas, he will not only neutralize some political parties and rivals, but will put some completely out of business come 2*2*.

    President Bio should by all cost try to make the next election a referendum about himself. I will elaborate on this point when the time comes. He must not be distracted in any way in pursuing his agenda in these two areas. He must not forget that a hungry man is an angry man.

    Just like the health service, there has been neglect in agriculture. The president must now make sure that the ministry of agriculture organizes agricultural shows not only in Kenema as was done this year, but in all the districts throughout the country. However, it was a good start after decades of absence of the CACAO SHOW as we use to call it.

    Make mining less attractive and farming more attractive Mr. President, so that people will move to rural and farming areas and engage in agriculture. You have or can create policies to do it. It will help you personally and the country as a whole. So, Mr. President, think of a robust GREEN REVOLUTION AGENDA which will mark the beginning of self sufficiency. People in rural and farming areas and farmers have been neglected far too long. That has to stop now.

    Well done to the first lady for her initiative and I hope many more Sierra leoneans will invest in the agricultural sector as the First Lady has done. Let there be a competition in this sector just as in the mining sector. HAPPY NEW YEAR AND GOD BLESS US ALL.

  2. Dear to all , this is good example if all government departments focus on agriculture we will get better future coz anyone who is eating full can’t be fooled. Let us all focus on agriculture. Farming and road networks to transport our seeds to every corner of the country and let me tell you in few years Sierra Leone will be out of poverty forever. Thanks to all to be positive and active patriot citizen.

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