Mr. Ato-Brown posing with a cocoa pod in cocoa farm at Gbekidu Village, Kono
The World Bank Country Manager Francis Ato-Brown says the Government of Sierra Leone has put forward a very ambitious agenda.
He was last week addressing the Chairman of the Koidu New Semgbehun District Council Richard Abdulraman Koninga, MAFFS District Agriculture Officer, Musa Kandeh, other council members and farmers during an on-the-spot monitoring of project intervention areas of the Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) and the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) in Lunsar Town, Kambia and Kono Districts.
Mr. Ato-Brown said the World Bank wants to play a key role in actualizing the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’. The World Bank boss pointed out that his organization has been a ‘serious partner’ to the government of Sierra Leone, recalling that the two partners have been together before, during and after the 11 years civil war that devastated the country’s agricultural sector and the economy.
Mr. Ato-Brown said the team had embarked on the exercise to see the progress the two projects were making, the challenges they are faced with and find possible ways of addressing them.
He said he was impressed with the implementation of the RPSDP and WAAPP in Lunsar Town, Kambia and Kono Districts. “…I must say I am very happy with what I have seen. It is reassuring that the projects are making significant impacts…he added.
He said the agriculture sector will play a key role in reducing poverty in the country. “…agriculture is what will reduce poverty in the country…” he re-affirmed.
The Chairman said the district was in dire need of development, disclosing that 98% of the infrastructural facilities in the district were vandalized during the war. He said the RPSDP has rehabilitated 51km feeder roads, this he added has improved access to production, market centers and farming communities and has created tremendous impacts on the lives of the people.
Richard Abdulraman Koninga commended the World Bank for support provided to the council’s water, education, health divisions, among others.
The District Agriculture Officer, Musa Kandeh said the district has huge agricultural potential, adding that it has good soil and manpower for huge agricultural investments. He recalled that changing the mindset of the people to focus on agriculture was a big challenge. Mr. Kandeh said up to 70% of the population of Kono is in farming, especially commercialization. He said there are private investments of up to 30-40 acres of farms in the district.
The District Agriculture Officer commended the RPSDP for its intervention to rehabilitate feeder roads to linking up farmers with production and market centers, capacity building, and grouping farmers into cooperatives. “…the cooperative ideology is seriously benefiting the farmers. They exported 201metric tons of grade 1 cocoa last 2013-2014 season)…” he said.
By: Amadu Femoh Sesay