Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has wants the country to seen not only be seen as a mining country but also as one that produces a lot of food for its people and export agricultural produce.
Mr. Bio made the statement when he launched the ‘Quality Produce Fair’ for the first time in more than 30 years to boost agricultural production and export.
He assured farmers that his government will provide them with the requisite support to enable them produce high quality crops that would earn them better income.
“The international pricing of products is based on quality. If we do not improve on the quality of our products it will be difficult to realize huge profit, he said, adding, my government wants to ensure that farmers get the desired profit from their labour by producing high quality goods“.
The week-long event which is held in Kenema, east of Sierra Leone entered its fourth day on Sunday.
The week-long event brings together farmers and agricultural organisations from across the country to showcase the quality of their produce.
The event is launched under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) – the sole produce exporting government agency.
President Bio said the event will be staged every year in order to motivate farmers to produce crops of high quality that are required to increase the market value of products.
“When the quality of products were not good, it would be difficult to realise profit,” the president said.
“While government provides the necessary support, we also want to encourage the youth to be involved in farming.
“Agriculture is an important source of employment for our youth. We must all take agriculture seriously. Our country can achieve a lot if we invest in large scale agriculture,” he said.
Executive Director of the SLPMB, Dr James Vibbi, said since he took over he had streamlined the institution and increased its effectiveness, adding that they were determined to help government raise enough revenue.
For his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Joseph Jonathan Ndanema, said his ministry would help farmers to produce lots of food both for local consumption and for export purposes, thereby boosting the country’s foreign exchange.
He noted that the priority for his ministry was to produce rice at industrial level and make it affordable to every Sierra Leonean.
Sierra Leone’s main cash crops that are exported are coffee, Cacao, palm kernels and tobacco.
© Bur-csa – N.W / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng