In the ongoing budget discussion, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)has requested Le321 billion for the Fiscal Year 2022 to increase rice production from 59% to 86% to attain the human capital development target of rice sufficiency by 2023.
The request was made on 21st September 2021 at the Ministry of Finance Conference Hall in Freetown.
The Principal Deputy Financial Secretary, MoF, Mr. Mathew Dingie, in his response to the request advised that the Ministry rethink the model of implementation on the youth farms project because of the many challenges that have been highlighted to ensure that the Youths farms yield more productivity as intended by the Government.
He advise that the Ministry put better planning strategies especially with regards to rice cultivation.
He said the MoF would take action to pay for fertilizers by the first week of October which he said should be factored into the 2022 budget of the Ministry.
He instructed that since Agriculture is time-bound, the Ministry should ensure they channel an ongoing project that needs urgent support from MoF for immediate response.
Deputy Chief Agriculture officer, Dr. Mohamed Ajuba sheriff in his statement on the Ministry deliverables for 2022 noted that they will continue to work on the progress of the Quick Action Economic Response programs (QAERP) as a strategic focus for the increase of agricultural production in 2022.
He said each division in the Ministry has additional deliverables for 2022.
He added that the Ministry will also focus on crops and livestock especially cashew, cocoa, chicken, onion, etc to minimize the importation of these goods into the Country by supporting farmers with improved seeds and services across the Country.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has 9,692.43 hectares for supported farms and 12,000.00 hectares for Youths farms, noting that there are serious challenges with the youths to own up to and value the opportunities given to them.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Charles Tom Kamanda emphasized that agriculture is time-bound and pleaded with MoF to quickly disburse funds to support farmers which must happen before planting season, is different for every crop.